The voice actor strike that has affected the gaming community in more ways than one is officially settled. After over a year of battling for better working conditions from voices in the industry from Jennifer Hale and Troy Baker, to even the newcomers onto the voice acting scene - the tentative agreement put forth to end the strike has officially been accepted with "overwhelming" favor of the terms set.
The strike itself began on October 21st of last year when SAG-AFTRA called for voices from all over to join them to raise awareness of the conditions surrounding performance art. It didn't just affect the voice actors either, motion capture actors and more joined in on the fight. The original call to arms stated:
“We’re asking for a reasonable performance bonus for every 2 million copies, or downloads sold, or 2 million unique subscribers to online-only games, with a cap at 8 million units/subscribers. That shakes out, potentially, to FOUR bonus payments for the most successful games: 2 million, 4 million, 6 million and 8 million copies.
As the video game industry continues to incorporate more dialogue into their titles, voiceover actors are being asked to perform many challenging vocal tasks, such as simulating painful deaths, creature voices, battle sounds, and screams and shrieks, with significant force and explosive vibration. Actors are reporting that they are fainting in sessions, tasting blood, vomiting, losing their voice for a day up to several weeks, permanently losing their vocal range, etc. Our proposal is that vocally stressful sessions be reduced from the current four-hour session to a two-hour session without a loss of pay.
Many actors feel unsafe without a stunt coordinator because they are often asked to do things that could potentially be dangerous to themselves or others. For example, once, without a stunt coordinator on set, a video game developer tried to do a wire pull – which means he basically made himself jerk really hard and fast across a room – without someone on set to monitor his safety. He, of course, got hurt and couldn’t go back to work for a long while. This is just one instance among many. Stunt coordinators also help train actors how to fight, do stunts and combat and perform motion capture properly so they look more realistic in the game.
Actors need to know more about the projects that they are working on. SAG-AFTRA has proposed that the actual title of the project and the role being hired for should be made available to at least our representatives before signing a contract. We have also heard stories of actors coming into a session and being asked, without prior consent, to do content that contains simulated sex scenes and racial slurs. To be placed in a session, and asked to do a sex scene and racial slurs that will be forever tied to an actor’s name should be a choice made by an actor prior to booking."
The two biggest goals for this was transparency and compensation and both were met with victory now that the terms have been agreed upon. It also allows for companies to be completely honest with their actors about what the job entails before the contract is signed including the overt use of racial slurs and other controversial acts that may be required. The new deal went live on November 8th and is set to expire at the same time in 2020.
To read the full list of demands met, you can check out the full statement made by SAG-AFTRA right here.