Monday, April 24, 2017

Voice Actor Strike Update: Signed Contracts and Controversy

SAG-AFTRA has had a busy few weeks, marred by controversy and negotiations with individual game developers as the strike with voice actors continues. Late last week, the board of directors issued a statement against the leaders of the union for misusing funds to finance items outside of the AFTRA group. These include limousine rides to events, plane tickets for family members, and cell phone numbers for families. The money comes from the union fees that actors pay to be apart of the guild. The board has asked the union's general counsel to start an independent review by an outside party to see if these accusations are correct, and what the next step should be. It's a weird situation because the board has faced this same scenario years ago, and the allegations proved to be false. They don't want to fall into the same pit as last time and wrongly accuse people until proof is provided. Thus confidence in SAG-AFTRA is still high among it's members.

So the guild is continuing their work with providing more benefits to actors. They have established a committee for an upcoming contract renewal with Telemundo. And the board has reiterated their backing with the video game strike. As we move into the 7th month, Chief Contracts Officer Ray Rodriguez has signed 23 companies to it's new contract terms for the production of 30 games over the upcoming years. 26 of those games are labeled as "high budget." The list of companies was not disclosed, but it's believed to be a mix of mid-sized and AAA companies that rely on bigger named talents affiliated with AFTRA. You know the joke about how no game can be released without Nolan North? With the expanse of his voice acting chops, he's earned that right. He's a SAG member. If you want him in your game, you have to play by the new rules.

Some gaming companies are okay with the new rules for payment and compensation, but the fight is still on against the other major players. Activision, EA, and Take-Two haven't announced any deals or agreements with AFTRA, so both parties are looking to camp out this strike for as long as it takes.

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