Union vs. Non union voice acting

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The Overlord

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How many cartoons are voiced by unionized VAs? How many cartoons are voiced by non-union VAs? Is union voice acting better than non union voice acting, on average?
 

AintNobodyHere

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Most cartoons are voiced by union actors, as far as I know (except for maybe some really low budget ones, or some anime dubs). And yes, the union actors are generally better in most people's opinion. Pretty much the same with regular acting. The union actors are supposed to be guaranteed to be quality.
 

The Weed Of Cri

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I've never heard of a union specifically voice actors. Most voice actors are members of some other established union like the Screen Actors Guild (for movie and TV actors) or Actors' Equity (for stage actors). The majority of VA's these days are union; distribution companies are probably leery of antagonizing an obscenely powerful Hollywood union by using non-union actors. One good way to tell is to look at the credits at the end of the show (provided the channel you're watching doesn't scrunch them up on the side or bottom of the screen, or scroll them so fast you can't see anything -- God, I hate that!). If the voice actors are listed, they're union; if they're not listed, they're non-union. Union participation doesn't always translate into better actors. One well-known non-union cast, for Star Blazers, was the gold standard for anime dubs for over a decade.
 

The Overlord

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Can you please explain to me what a union and non-union voice acting is
Simple, unionized VAs belong to a trade union while non unionized VAs do not belong to a trade union:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trade_union

If the voice actors are listed, they're union; if they're not listed, they're non-union. Union participation doesn't always translate into better actors. One well-known non-union cast, for Star Blazers, was the gold standard for anime dubs for over a decade.
Yeah but I think that is the exception, not the rule. That's why A-list VAs like Frank Welker will not touch anime, for the most part.
 

Hordesman

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Simple, unionized VAs belong to a trade union while non unionized VAs do not belong to a trade union:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trade_union



Yeah but I think that is the exception, not the rule. That's why A-list VAs like Frank Welker will not touch anime, for the most part.
I think it's a budget thing as well. Importing a show produced with a budget to make a profit in a smaller market in Asia or Europe vs. a ground-up US production... I've love if the VA talent pool between Animaniacs and One Piece's dubbed versions went both ways, but I think the economics of anime dubs veer towards cheaper production models involving less known VAs, existing footage and post-production work.
 

The Overlord

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I think it's a budget thing as well. Importing a show produced with a budget to make a profit in a smaller market in Asia or Europe vs. a ground-up US production... I've love if the VA talent pool between Animaniacs and One Piece's dubbed versions went both ways, but I think the economics of anime dubs veer towards cheaper production models involving less known VAs, existing footage and post-production work.
Well budgets and unions go hand in hand, union VAs are more expensive than non ones.

However one thing puzzles me, you would think with the animation already taken care of in regards to anime, there would be more money to spend on voice acting and some animes have made a lot of money. Since a lot of animes are shown on Sat morning, you can't say they are directed at small market. Pokemon made a lot of money, for example. I mean when Japanese video games are dubbed in english, the video game companies often hire union VAs.
 

Hordesman

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Well budgets and unions go hand in hand, union VAs are more expensive than non ones.

However one thing puzzles me, you would think with the animation already taken care of in regards to anime, there would be more money to spend on voice acting and some animes have made a lot of money. Since a lot of animes are shown on Sat morning, you can't say they are directed at small market. Pokemon made a lot of money, for example. I mean when Japanese video games are dubbed in english, the video game companies often hire union VAs.
I think anime dubbing tends to be a lower-cost industry. The animation's finished, the licensing fees are probably negotiable when a show's broken even (unless it's a super hot property), and then you have the original dubbing model coming out of straight-to-video where it's hard enough keeping tapes under $30 a piece.

And there's this issue: Once you're getting the industry heavyweights for a Sailormoon dub, there's the potential of the budget increasing to the point where you might as well have gone ahead with a homegrown animated version- where you're not stuck with Tokyo backgrounds and culture, dodging same-sex relations through sex changes and "cousins", and a cast that looks all white.
 
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The Weed Of Cri

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Yeah but I think that is the exception, not the rule. That's why A-list VAs like Frank Welker will not touch anime, for the most part.
Actually, I think Welker won't do anime because the highest pay scale he'd get would be a fraction of his current going rate. Most anime dub actor have "day jobs" because none of them are getting rich just off of anime. If he didn't have a resumé that covered 30+ years as a VA or connections at Disney, H-B, and a dozen other A-list animation houses, he wouldn't be so picky. Most of the companies that dub anime right now are using union labor; it was only back in the day of fly-by-night syndication houses that you saw a lot on non-union VA's.
 

MeggieMay

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The union for voice actors, IIRC, is the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, or AFTRA.
Actually, IIRC AFTRA usually covers East Coast actors vs SAG (the Screen Actors Guild) which covers the actors on the West coast. Actually it might be better if you just go read what each union has to say about themselves
SAG
AFTRA

From the looks of it voice actors can belong to either or both unions mattering on where they live and what jobs use what unions.
 

Bakasama

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Actually, I think Welker won't do anime because the highest pay scale he'd get would be a fraction of his current going rate. Most anime dub actor have "day jobs" because none of them are getting rich just off of anime. If he didn't have a resumé that covered 30+ years as a VA or connections at Disney, H-B, and a dozen other A-list animation houses, he wouldn't be so picky. Most of the companies that dub anime right now are using union labor; it was only back in the day of fly-by-night syndication houses that you saw a lot on non-union VA's.
That and it's very difficult to dub anime because you have to emote AND time your voice to sync with the "flapping" lips.
 

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