Tag Archives: SAG-AFTRA

SAG-AFTRA Reaches Tentative End to Video Game Strike

SAG-AFTRA has reached an agreement to end the strike against 11 video game companies that has been waged since October 21, 2016. The tentative agreement was reached on September 25, 2017.

The terms of the tentative agreement include a new bonus structure that provides an additional payment to performers (voice actors). The bonus payment, which is due no later than the release date of the game, is based on the number of sessions worked on each game, beginning with a $75 payment on the first session and totaling $2,100 after 10 sessions worked.

SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris pointed out that a secondary payment structure was one of the members’ key concerns. Keythe Farley, chair of the SAG-AFTRA Interactive Negotiating Committee noted that the bonus payments they have now are significantly larger than what they had 11 months ago.

Chief Contracts Officer Ray Rodriguez was lead manager on the new contract. He said: “The new transparency provisions will enhance the bargaining power of our members’ representatives by requiring the companies to disclose the code name of the project, its genre, whether the game is based on previously published intellectual property and whether the performer is reprising a prior role.”

He continued, “Members are also protected by the disclosure of whether they will be required to use unusual terminology, profanity, or racial slurs, and whether there will be content of a sexual or violent nature and whether stunts will be required.”

The contract will be reviewed by the SAG-AFTRA National Board at its October meeting.The new terms take effect upon ratification.

Kotaku reported that the SAG-AFTRA strike was against game companies like Electronic Arts, Disney, Insomniac Games and Take Two. Kotaku also reported that the voice actors’ request for two-hour limits on sessions that require voice strain (such as screaming) is not part of the tentative contract.

Screams in Video Games are Killing Actor’s Voices

SAG-AFTRA logoWhen your character dies in a video game, he or she may let out a dramatic, blood-curdling, scream. You might be screaming as well, out of frustration. Chances are, you don’t spend a lot of time screaming at your video games. That’s good, because it turns out that all that screaming is causing harm to the voices of the actors who bring your character to life.

The national executive director of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), David White, sent a letter to California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) on May 25, 2016. The union wants the state of California to open an investigation into the allegedly unsafe vocal recording sessions that some companies in the video game industry are requiring voice actors to do.

Voice actors who work in the video game industry are asked to work long hours. Those hours are spent recording loud and strenuous noises (including violent screaming). Some may be asked to use their voices to make noises for characters that are not human. Keep in mind that a voice actor rarely gets the line perfect on the first try. It is common for them to have to do many retakes of the same line, over and over again.

The letter from SAG-AFTRA states that the voice actor union members were not given enough time to properly warm up their voices. Some members have experienced cysts, polyps, and cord hemorrhaging as a result of their working conditions. SAG-AFTRA points out that this could result in changes in vocal quality or complete vocal cord paralysis. Obviously, that could end a voice actor’s career.

The next time your character dies, listen closely to the sound. Spare a thought for the voice actor or actress who had to stress their vocal cords by making that scream.