Video Game Voice Actors Are Thinking About A Strike

Illustration for article titled Video Game Voice Actors Are Thinking About A Strike

SAG-AFTRA, the union which looks after voice actors (among loads of other jobs), is mulling over whether to strike in order to obtain better conditions for its members.


Top image by Gareth Dutton.

Specifically, they want it enshrined in contacts that there’s better protection and pay for when a role requires physically demanding voice work (such as repeated loud screams), clearer definition between the roles of voice actors and motion-capture actors (the former is often expected to do the latter unexpectedly) and performance bonuses should a game sell over 2 million copies.

Why a strike? The union and video game publishers met first in February and then in June to try and sort out a new contract for voice actors, and were unable to come to an agreement. So a vote is going down early next month, and if over 75% of members agree, then all union members working on video games will go on strike.

If you’re wondering “how hard could it be to be a voice actor?”, here’s a post by Wil Wheaton talking about his experiences in the job, and why he’s supporting the vote to strike.

He’s far from the only prominent actor supporting the push. Here’s Dave Fennoy, voice of everyone from Lee in The Walking Dead to StarCraft’s Daniel Tosh:


Here’s Steven Ogg, aka Trevor Phillips:


And here’s Tara Strong, aka Harley Quinn and...well, everyone.


I directed voiceover and mocap, and designed/wrote 3 million-selling games. And I can say from experience that voiceover work is the easiest, cushiest gig in all of video games. It requires little prep, the conditions are luxurious, and the pay is great.

Maybe if there was a union for devs, they'd have close to those kinds of perks instead of body-battering crunch, layoffs looming overhead and not getting full credit for the work they do.