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SAG-AFTRA Video Game Voice Actors May Go on Strike

The times they are a changin’

Video game voice actors may start going on strike now that a long running conversation between publishers and voice actors may be coming to a head. The union that represents actors and voice actors, SAG-AFTRA, is considering going on strike in order to help the matter get resolved quickly.

One of the main issues being discussed is “back end bonuses.” A back end bonus is a trade-off where an actor or voice artist can get a cut of the overall gross of a movie or game in exchange for a lower fee for their service. This has become quite common in the film industry and voice artists want it to become common place in the gaming industry.


SAG-AFTRA seems to be being quite fair about such an arrangement. On the official website, the proposal suggests that voice actors would only get their cut after the game has sold 2 million units. This would protect small game companies and allow voice actors to get a piece of the pie from big games such as Call of Duty.

“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,” states the union. “That shakes out, potentially, to FOUR bonus payments for the most successful games: 2 million, 4 million, 6 million and 8 million copies.”

SAG-AFTRA is also looking to get voice actors stunt pay for roles that require them to be in vocally stressful situations. With the rise in motion capture, the company wants stunt coordinators available to actors engaging in physical roles.

Other issues covered are fines for late arrivals from actors on set and fines for agents who don’t send actors out for smaller roles like ambient sounds. SAG-AFTRA also objects to publishers hiring their own voice actors who are not part of the union.

This matter has been in negotiations all year, with meetings occuring in both January and June with no resolution met. SAG-AFTRA is now taking a vote on whether or not actors should strike. For a strike to go ahead, 75 percent of voting members need to approve the action.

Many high profile voice actors and actresses have been lending their support to the strike via Twitter, including David Hayter, Steve Blum, Jennifer Hale, Wil Wheaton, Phil La Marr, and Ashly Burch.

[Source: SAG AFTRA]

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