Thought I'd share this story that came up in my news feed this morning, several big names in the VG and cartoon/anime industry that do acting for games including Jennifer Hale and Crispin Freeman are on strike against EA, Activision, Disney, and others over better compensation:
Their case is that they want a cut in sales as opposed to fixed rate; as well as better conditions like the elimination of "secrecy" (knowing what game you are working on). The companies argue that the VAs only make up a small part of the process and don't deserve as much pay (they quote "represent less than one tenth of 1 percent of the work that goes into making a video game.")
Thoughts? Personally, I think the <1/10 of a % line is a little harsh. Yes, VAs are not as involved in the creation process, but they have a big hand in selling the game to the public. If you want someone like Hale voicing your characters, you better pay Hale prices.
The industry basically hasn't changed their views from the good ol days of the early 90s when your "top floor" VG voice acting was either the people who brought you Transformers: Headmasters or the guys who clean the toilets at Sierra On-Line. That's disgraceful.
A lot of voice actors now do motion capture work too for the animators to use their whole performance as reference. And they often don't get paid any differently.
This isn't getting a lot of attention it seems. If you play video games, please don't support the following companies for any games they make or publish until they go back to the negotiating table: Activision Publishing, Inc.; Blindlight, LLC; Corps of Discovery Films; Disney Character Voices, Inc.; Electronic Arts Productions, Inc.; Formosa Interactive, LLC; Insomniac Games, Inc.; Interactive Associates, Inc.; Take 2 Interactive Software; VoiceWorks Productions, Inc.; and WB Games, Inc. .
I remember reading about a petition going around the VA circle about improving the working and wage conditions for video game voice acting, particularly from VA's like Colleen O'Shaughnessy, Will Wheaton, and the aforementioned Crispin Freeman and Jennifer Hale. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that it's gone into a full-blown strike .
I hope that this strike is effective and that video game companies are willing to negotiate better wages for voice actors .
And I guess I should be prepared not to hear a lot of my favorite VA's in major AAA video games going forward .
Though I wonder if the non-Union VA's will also go on strike?
Since I've never really visited this particular section of the forums before, I'm not sure how knowledgeable everyone here is about the working conditions of voice actors. So, I apologize in advance in case what I'm about to say comes off as eye-rollingly obvious.
Christopher Niosi, who's the creator of the TOME webseries and has voiced a few characters in anime and games including Dezel from Tales of Zestiria, posted a Kirblog video earlier today regarding the video game voice actor strike. In the hour-long video with guest Crispin Freeman, who both discuss and inform in detail the specifics behind the strike and what the voice actors want and what has been made unfair towards their livelihood and working conditions. I find it to be a really eye-opening discussion and they both even share stories of good working conditions and bad working conditions (more-so bad) in the video game industry.
If you have Starz Encore Family (Not Kids & Family, but Family...) 1 hour as of this post, they'll be playing "Inspector Gadget Saves Christmas" and "Sonic Christmas Blast". (3:19pm-4:06pm EST) Both will play again at some point.