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Videogame Voice Actor Strike Ends

SAG-AFTRA announces its membership has voted to end the videogame voice-actor strike they declared over two years ago. A tentative agreement was announced in September, and now word is this was passed "overwhelmingly" by a nine-to-one margin, though the deal only covers the next three years. Here are the details:

In national voting completed today, members of SAG-AFTRA voted overwhelmingly to approve the successor to the Interactive Media Video Game Agreement by a vote of 90 percent to 10 percent.

The terms of the tentative agreement, which was reached on September 22, include a new bonus structure that provides additional payments to performers based on number of sessions worked. The bonus payments, which are due no later than the release date of the game, begin with an additional $75 payment on the first session and totaling $2,100 after 10 sessions worked.

The deal also contains new transparency provisions that will enhance the bargaining power of our members’ representatives by requiring the companies to disclose the code name of project, its genre, whether the game is based on previously published intellectual property and whether the performer is reprising a prior role. Members are also protected by the disclosure of whether they will be required to use unusual terminology, profanity or racial slurs, whether there will be content of a sexual or violent nature and whether stunts will be required.

In addition, the deal includes an employer commitment to continue working with SAG-AFTRA on the issue of vocal stress during the term of the agreement.

SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris said, “This agreement is the first step towards streamlining the work our members do in the video game industry. The deal includes significant improvements in the area of transparency and the payment structure ensures that our members are compensated fairly for their work. I am excited for what this means for our members moving forward.”

Says SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director David White, “I’d like to thank our Chief Contracts Officer Ray Rodriguez as well as our Interactive Negotiating Committee for leading these negotiations. This negotiation was hard fought and hard won. We achieved a stronger successor agreement and I am proud of the results.”

Adds Keythe Farley, chair of the SAG-AFTRA Interactive Negotiating Committee, “The bonus payments we asked for are now part of the video game industry and are a base from which to build upon. I’m excited for all that we have achieved.”

The agreement does not include several proposals sought by management, including a provision that would have fined performers for being late or distracted at session, another that would have required agents to submit performers for low-paying “atmospheric voice” sessions or face fines and a possible revocation of their union franchise, and another that would have allowed employers to use their permanent staff to do covered work outside of the collective bargaining agreement.

Informational voting cards were mailed to approximately 7,200 affected members of SAG-AFTRA, of which 10 percent voted. The final vote was certified by Integrity Voting Systems, an impartial election service based in Everett, Washington.

The agreement becomes effective November 8, 2017 and expires November 7, 2020.

The National Board unanimously approved the tentative agreement on October 9, 2017, ending a strike against 11 video game companies that began on October 21, 2016.

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10. Re: Videogame Voice Actor Strike Ends Nov 9, 2017, 11:05 Alamar
 
HoSpanky wrote on Nov 8, 2017, 11:37:
I gotta say, it would freak ME out to have had to work without any of the things they bargained for. The money part isn’t what’s concerning, it’s the unknown factors that would bother me. They still don’t have to tell the actor what game they’re voicing, which is bullshit. “Oh, you’ll be working on a tiny project no one’s heard of”, and two years later there’s your voice as the main character of a new Uncharted series, and you got $2000.

I agree the changes to give the VA more info about the role is good... Getting associated with something that you're against (or don't want on your record) would suck...

But telling all your VAs, that might have very little interest in keeping your secret (other than the NDA, which is hard to enforce), what hyped game sequel they can now reveal, is a bad idea.

As for the $2k, I don't know why that's relevant. I don't support royalties, so it doesn't matter if the game does well or not (and the above includes royalties by another name anyways), but if it does do well, that VA is likely to get more work as a result.
 
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9. Re: Videogame Voice Actor Strike Ends Nov 8, 2017, 19:50 NKD
 
Linksil wrote on Nov 8, 2017, 15:03:
I don't see anything about royalties.

They didn't ask for royalties. Their original idea was a bonus paid to VAs at 500k, 1M, 1.5, and 2M units sold. So up to 4 bonus payments for the biggest selling titles, but no perpetual royalties. They settled for this alternative based on number of sessions, rather than number of units sold.

NOW they just need to start paying the real people behind the games like programmers and artists better.

Maybe they should unionize The VAs were on strike for a year. Imagine if the programmers and artists went on strike?

 
Avatar 43041
 
The solution to the toxicity of identity politics surely isn't to add white identity politics to the mix.
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8. Re: Videogame Voice Actor Strike Ends Nov 8, 2017, 17:47 Cutter
 
Linksil wrote on Nov 8, 2017, 15:03:
I don't see anything about royalties.

NOW they just need to start paying the real people behind the games like programmers and artists better.

That's because there are no royalties - unless you have the star power to command it which most don't. The major pubs they were dealing with - EA, Ubi, Actiblizz, et al. - flat out refused any sort of royalty payments from the get go. And I don't blame them. Personally I always thought royalties are bullshit.

Game development isn't all that different from anything else in terms of compensation. If you have the skills and experience they want you'll get things on your own terms. Everyone else, not so much. It's also the main reason so many people in the industry are simply putting in some time with someone in order to acquire the experience they need and then head out on their own. After all, if you can develop and self-publish that's where the real money is.
 
Avatar 25394
 
You've got to be cruel to be kind...in the right measure.
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7. Re: Videogame Voice Actor Strike Ends Nov 8, 2017, 15:46 Slick
 
Some games have really good voice acting. Some don't.

It's like most things with art, and life...

I really liked the acting in Infamous Second Son, even though the characters weren't my cup of tea, I felt that the direction and the acting was spot on to "bring me there", to "bring me the angst".
 
Avatar 57545
 
(Regarding SW:Battlefront II) Frostshite is a horrible piece of shit engine that makes games look artificial as if you were playing on a movie set instead of the actual location. -CJ_Parker
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6. Re: Videogame Voice Actor Strike Ends Nov 8, 2017, 15:20 Muscular Beaver
 
Linksil wrote on Nov 8, 2017, 15:03:
I'm sorry but one of the first things I do is turn down the music and turn on subs because VA'ing in video games is still horrible. Unless it's an import. I thought they already got paid per session, but I guess not.

I'm confused by some of the stuff that the management tried to get in but didn't. Most of it seemed like common sense to have. Fining someone for being late or not even giving a damn/distracted during a VA session seems like a no brainer. I know if I show up to work and I don't do my job, they send you home and I don't get paid. Also it looks like the agents don't have to submit progormers for the non main character voices, but the studios can't find subs that arn't in the union. That seems way to constrictive. Maybe it just means that if your staff does voices you have to pay them like the normal VA's?

I don't see anything about royalties.

NOW they just need to start paying the real people behind the games like programmers and artists better.
Someone has never heard foreign voice acting.
American voice acting is glorious compared to other countries. And that is probably because VA there are treated even worse than in the USA.
 
Avatar 12928
 
Waiting for BIS to come back to their senses and do a real ArmA 2 successor.
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5. Re: Videogame Voice Actor Strike Ends Nov 8, 2017, 15:03 Linksil
 
I'm sorry but one of the first things I do is turn down the music and turn on subs because VA'ing in video games is still horrible. Unless it's an import. I thought they already got paid per session, but I guess not.

I'm confused by some of the stuff that the management tried to get in but didn't. Most of it seemed like common sense to have. Fining someone for being late or not even giving a damn/distracted during a VA session seems like a no brainer. I know if I show up to work and I don't do my job, they send you home and I don't get paid. Also it looks like the agents don't have to submit progormers for the non main character voices, but the studios can't find subs that arn't in the union. That seems way to constrictive. Maybe it just means that if your staff does voices you have to pay them like the normal VA's?

I don't see anything about royalties.

NOW they just need to start paying the real people behind the games like programmers and artists better.
 
Munching On: FF14 storyline, SAO PS4, Horizon.
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4. Re: Videogame Voice Actor Strike Ends Nov 8, 2017, 12:54 HorrorScope
 
It's going to take some time to build unions back up and under Trump it isn't building. It is still a step forward and it was agreed upon.  
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3. Re: Videogame Voice Actor Strike Ends Nov 8, 2017, 11:42 Cutter
 
Useless union. 2 years and they get a pittance of a raise.  
Avatar 25394
 
You've got to be cruel to be kind...in the right measure.
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2. Re: Videogame Voice Actor Strike Ends Nov 8, 2017, 11:37 HoSpanky
 
I gotta say, it would freak ME out to have had to work without any of the things they bargained for. The money part isn’t what’s concerning, it’s the unknown factors that would bother me. They still don’t have to tell the actor what game they’re voicing, which is bullshit. “Oh, you’ll be working on a tiny project no one’s heard of”, and two years later there’s your voice as the main character of a new Uncharted series, and you got $2000.  
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1. Re: Videogame Voice Actor Strike Ends Nov 8, 2017, 11:34 NKD
 
Looks like good improvements.

I'm sure we'll get the usual comments from our local food service workers saying how the voice actors should be grateful they get paid anything at all.
 
Avatar 43041
 
The solution to the toxicity of identity politics surely isn't to add white identity politics to the mix.
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