Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Semi-Voice Acting Strike Resolution...Sort-Of

Remember that voice actor strike that was suppose to happen last year to improve working conditions and pay? It didn't fizzle out. But it didn't boost as much acclaim as they were hoping for. While most actors didn't strike, SAG-AFTRA was working to draw up a new contract for voice actors to help ease some of their vocal troubles. This new contract has been approved by SAG, but it's up to the game developers on whether or not they accept it, which will be a studio by studio basis. Developers are not required to accept the contract, and actors can work under the developer's own terms.

Basically, it's a fancy piece of paper with rules that are not required to be followed. Good job SAG!

Oh, and this only applies to smaller, independent gaming studios. There's that caveat too.

The new "low budget" gaming agreement will allow studios to hire actors affiliated with SAG without it hitting them in the wallet. It also allows actors to set limits on their vocal abilities. Difficult vocal sessions, such as screaming or yelling, will be reduced to 2 hours and actors will be paid double for such work. If the game sells more then 500,000 units, actors will be expected to receive residuals above their normal pay rate.

Again, this is all dependent upon the developer. If they opt to not follow this new contract, they can make that choice. There are no penalties for working voice actors beyond their ability, and no residuals required.

For those thinking this isn't going to cut it, SAG does have a plan B and intends to petition with OSHA to make vocal stress a workplace safety issue. In which case, people would have to be compensated for extended use of their vocal cords. That includes all of you who work customer service phone jobs. I'm all for this plan! I could use some back pay from GameStop for the years of talking on the phone while sick and destroying my voice.


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