Often under-appreciated, voice actors of the SAG-AFTRA organisation are finally taking a stand against triple A game development studios, going on strike as of Friday of this week (October 21).
This came to my attention just this morning after an article written by Wil Wheaton in 2015 which outlined why he supported the concept of striking against these companies. His article also involved a small exercise which, if strictly followed simulated a working day for a voice actor (I tried it, it hurt my throat quite a bit). The strike notice outlines four key demands that the organisation has for these companies:
- Providing back-end compensation on successful, multi-billion dollar games.
- Increased payment and fixed time frames on voice-straining recording sessions.
- Allowing the actor to make informed decisions about whether or not they will take an offered job.
- Ensuring that a stunt coordinator is present if the actor is to participate in dangerous work.
There are things that I, looking into the process, believe were basics of hiring a voice actor for their talents. It comes as a shock to me that this kind of stuff is occurring and is allowed to occur in the professional industry. Quite frankly it's ridiculous, so often do I hear tales of how badly employees in the triple A industries are and it's off putting. I hear of programmers working 20 hour days to fix three bugs which appear again in the morning, I hear of people being locked out of their studio, not even knowing that the night before that their studio was shut down. Now this.
Voice acting/Mo-cap + Voice acting can truly tie the knot together for modern games. Rigorously programmed animations, no matter how hard they try, simply cannot convey the kind of emotion a real human actor in that mindset can. Contemporary, triple A games simply wouldn't be the same without the kind of acting that we see in them today.
I can only hope that this is that straw that breaks the camel's back, it's time for a change in the interest of the well being of employees in this industry. Perhaps that's a little too hopeful on my end, but that's about all that I can do right now, hope that this industry gets better before I'm sent out into it.