Video game voice actors strike

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  • Mr.SunshineMr.Sunshine Registered User regular
    I hope to get character voices that are musical instruments. Like Peter and the Wolf or Peanuts.
    *Action scene in the next Call of Duty*
    Commander guy: "Wah wah! Wah wah wah WAHHHHH!"

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  • PhyphorPhyphor Building Planet Busters Tasting FruitRegistered User regular
    I hope to get character voices that are musical instruments. Like Peter and the Wolf or Peanuts.
    *Action scene in the next Call of Duty*
    Commander guy: "Wah wah! Wah wah wah WAHHHHH!"

    Don't starve does that

  • ZibblsnrtZibblsnrt Registered User regular
    edited October 2016
    Morkath wrote: »
    No, it is saying they are already paid far better than a large number of people in the industry for the amount of work they do.

    Your fixation on the "but they get paid so much more per hour than me and that's not fair!" thing is kind of weird at this point.

    When a few days at $100/hr is the result of couple weeks auditioning, time spent traveling at the VA's expense, and so on, it is far from the extravagance that you seem to think it is. It's pretty easy for a nine-to-five at baseline salary to out-earn a short-term contractor in those sorts of conditions, and I don't accept, at all, that the small chunk of their time spent actually in the booth is the only part that constitutes work.
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    $100/hour is, indeed, more than a large percentage of waged labor. But the guy making $20 to put in drywall is going to be doing it for roughly 8 hours a day, 4 or 5 days most weeks. A voice actor is going to be actually working about a dozen hours at the high end, once per project they're attached to unless they're pulled back in for a couple more hours of DLC dialogue or something.

    That drywaller's going to be billing at $60-100 for his work too, and the lion's share of that is going to go back into covering his job expenses. The ones I know charging those rates tend to only be taking home $15-25/hr or so after all their costs, depending on their experience and how much work they have.

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  • MorkathMorkath Registered User regular
    Zibblsnrt wrote: »
    Morkath wrote: »
    No, it is saying they are already paid far better than a large number of people in the industry for the amount of work they do.

    Your fixation on the "but they get paid so much more per hour than me and that's not fair!" thing is kind of weird at this point.

    When a few days at $100/hr is the result of couple weeks auditioning, time spent traveling at the VA's expense, and so on, it is far from the extravagance that you seem to think it is. It's pretty easy for a nine-to-five at baseline salary to out-earn a short-term contractor in those sorts of conditions, and I don't accept, at all, that the small chunk of their time spent actually in the booth is the only part that constitutes work.
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    $100/hour is, indeed, more than a large percentage of waged labor. But the guy making $20 to put in drywall is going to be doing it for roughly 8 hours a day, 4 or 5 days most weeks. A voice actor is going to be actually working about a dozen hours at the high end, once per project they're attached to unless they're pulled back in for a couple more hours of DLC dialogue or something.

    That drywaller's going to be billing at $60-100 for his work too, and the lion's share of that is going to go back into covering his job expenses. The ones I know charging those rates tend to only be taking home $15-25/hr or so after all their costs, depending on their experience and how much work they have.

    Travel costs are no different for full time employees. They don't suddenly teleport to work cost free every day. Their cost is simply spread out over that same period of time working for the company. If they are living so far away from the place they are doing business, maybe they should consider relocating to a more logical location.

    I'm not gonna live 4 hours from work, then complain about the commute.

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  • NotoriusBENNotoriusBEN Registered User regular
    The two big things I hope get through are the mo-cap safety and the ''strenuous distress voice work"

    These people are not stunt workers and unless you have a trained professional watching over the whole session, no one is qualified to be asking that kind of work.
    That's simple OSHA regulations. Work sites and factories are *littered* with signs about preventing near misses, slips, falls, bumps, and cuts, and you want these people to intentionally do those things...

    For the strenuous work, seriously, go to your bathroom or other quiet room and scream and grunt into the mirror. After about 15minutes, its going to hurt to talk.
    I'd tell producers and directors to do it themselves for however long the recording session was before I'd do it myself. Then they'd *know*.

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  • Commander ZoomCommander Zoom Registered User regular
    Their "place of work" is literally all over the country, dude.

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  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    Their "place of work" is literally all over the country, dude.

    Does this union cover people that work for Canadian studios? Because it could be everything from Austin to Toronto.

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  • SniperGuySniperGuy Also known as Dohaeris Registered User regular
    Yeah video game studios are all over the place. No way are travel costs the same as your standard job.

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  • tastydonutstastydonuts Registered User regular
    edited October 2016
    SAG-AFTRA is an American Union. Canada has its own union, ACTRA? Idk. There's also BAFTA for Brits.

    Residuals aside, the mo-cap people need a lot of love across the board... because few of them get treated like Andy Serkis. Stars just do the face work a lot of time and the body-work is someone else.

    edit: actually not bafta. idk what it is.

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  • NotoriusBENNotoriusBEN Registered User regular
    Morkath wrote: »
    Zibblsnrt wrote: »
    Morkath wrote: »
    No, it is saying they are already paid far better than a large number of people in the industry for the amount of work they do.

    Your fixation on the "but they get paid so much more per hour than me and that's not fair!" thing is kind of weird at this point.

    When a few days at $100/hr is the result of couple weeks auditioning, time spent traveling at the VA's expense, and so on, it is far from the extravagance that you seem to think it is. It's pretty easy for a nine-to-five at baseline salary to out-earn a short-term contractor in those sorts of conditions, and I don't accept, at all, that the small chunk of their time spent actually in the booth is the only part that constitutes work.
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    $100/hour is, indeed, more than a large percentage of waged labor. But the guy making $20 to put in drywall is going to be doing it for roughly 8 hours a day, 4 or 5 days most weeks. A voice actor is going to be actually working about a dozen hours at the high end, once per project they're attached to unless they're pulled back in for a couple more hours of DLC dialogue or something.

    That drywaller's going to be billing at $60-100 for his work too, and the lion's share of that is going to go back into covering his job expenses. The ones I know charging those rates tend to only be taking home $15-25/hr or so after all their costs, depending on their experience and how much work they have.

    Travel costs are no different for full time employees. They don't suddenly teleport to work cost free every day. Their cost is simply spread out over that same period of time working for the company. If they are living so far away from the place they are doing business, maybe they should consider relocating to a more logical location.

    I'm not gonna live 4 hours from work, then complain about the commute.

    I will say that living expenses are fucked up in the Puget Sound area when you have people south of Tacoma *commuting* to Everett or Bellevue because housing and rent are so re-goddamned-diculous that you can't even approach Seattle and Bellevue.

    We either need a new Interstate Highway with no exits between Tacoma and Lynnwood, -or- just straight up cut the land value in half and build apartments like there is no tomorrow./hyperbole

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  • MorkathMorkath Registered User regular
    They are pretty clustered in specific locations, with outliers for smaller studios that likely don't have sound booths anyway, so would actually be doing it at one of the main publishers locations. Hell, even some of the bigger developers still do it at professional sound booth locations, even when they have their own.

    And again, if they choose to live outside of those areas, why is that the developers problem? Don't apply for a job that is too far away.

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  • MorkathMorkath Registered User regular
    edited October 2016
    Morkath wrote: »
    Zibblsnrt wrote: »
    Morkath wrote: »
    No, it is saying they are already paid far better than a large number of people in the industry for the amount of work they do.

    Your fixation on the "but they get paid so much more per hour than me and that's not fair!" thing is kind of weird at this point.

    When a few days at $100/hr is the result of couple weeks auditioning, time spent traveling at the VA's expense, and so on, it is far from the extravagance that you seem to think it is. It's pretty easy for a nine-to-five at baseline salary to out-earn a short-term contractor in those sorts of conditions, and I don't accept, at all, that the small chunk of their time spent actually in the booth is the only part that constitutes work.
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    $100/hour is, indeed, more than a large percentage of waged labor. But the guy making $20 to put in drywall is going to be doing it for roughly 8 hours a day, 4 or 5 days most weeks. A voice actor is going to be actually working about a dozen hours at the high end, once per project they're attached to unless they're pulled back in for a couple more hours of DLC dialogue or something.

    That drywaller's going to be billing at $60-100 for his work too, and the lion's share of that is going to go back into covering his job expenses. The ones I know charging those rates tend to only be taking home $15-25/hr or so after all their costs, depending on their experience and how much work they have.

    Travel costs are no different for full time employees. They don't suddenly teleport to work cost free every day. Their cost is simply spread out over that same period of time working for the company. If they are living so far away from the place they are doing business, maybe they should consider relocating to a more logical location.

    I'm not gonna live 4 hours from work, then complain about the commute.

    I will say that living expenses are fucked up in the Puget Sound area when you have people south of Tacoma *commuting* to Everett or Bellevue because housing and rent are so re-goddamned-diculous that you can't even approach Seattle and Bellevue.

    We either need a new Interstate Highway with no exits between Tacoma and Lynnwood, -or- just straight up cut the land value in half and build apartments like there is no tomorrow./hyperbole

    Theres actually a ton of empty apartments in Bellevue (or were a couple years ago, probably still is)! They are just all ridiculously over-costed due to the city wanting to be the new Seattle. It's hilarious how that city just completely empties out once the work day is over.

    Morkath on
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  • ZibblsnrtZibblsnrt Registered User regular
    Morkath wrote: »
    Travel costs are no different for full time employees. They don't suddenly teleport to work cost free every day. Their cost is simply spread out over that same period of time working for the company. If they are living so far away from the place they are doing business, maybe they should consider relocating to a more logical location.


    Hoookay, there's enough "I confidently don't know how contract jobs or this industry in general works" to unpack in this. I'm out.

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  • GnomeTankGnomeTank Registered User regular
    I'm sorry but the residuals ask is ridiculous and not something VA's deserve. They are such a comparatively small piece of making a game and do so little of the actual work I can't understand how anyone can support it as "fair" that they get a residual (aka a cut of the profits). Almost no one buys a game because a particular voice actor is in it. They aren't "box office draws", outside of maybe Nolan North and Jennifer Hale, and even they don't sell games all by themselves.

    The rest of it, better working conditions, some changes to the mo-cap rules, even a pay raise, all seem fair to me.

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  • The WolfmanThe Wolfman Registered User regular
    For a comparatively small piece of a game, they're virtual linchpins for many of them. Games like GTA and MGS are next to nothing without their VA work. Something like Mafia 3 wants to claim to confront players with the horrors of racism? Good luck doing that in pantomime. In other words your VA's need to knock that out of the fucking park.

    If games want to claim to be deep cinematic pieces, then they need to stop treating voice actors like disposable trash.

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  • StericaSterica Yes Registered User, Moderator mod
    Morkath wrote: »
    And again, if they choose to live outside of those areas, why is that the developers problem? Don't apply for a job that is too far away.
    You do realize the cost of living in areas where game developers tend to congregate is normally quite high, right?

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  • Knight_Knight_ Dead Dead Dead Registered User regular
    edited October 2016
    You act like they're asking for 10% of the gross.

    I do enjoy how people are so quick to side with the corporate ownership over employees at a moment's notice pretty much constantly. And we wonder why working conditions have gotten so horrible in this industry and this country.

    edit: and for your mass effect example, if it wasn't for Jennifer Hale, I'd never have beaten Mass Effect 1, more or less buy the other 2 games. I got about 25% in with the male character, thought the game was total crap because the VO was so stiff and terrible, and before I quit decided to give it a try with the female character. VO is incredibly important, and only becoming moreso.

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  • StericaSterica Yes Registered User, Moderator mod
    This is kind of Billy West's personal crusade: voice actors in general are treated like shit, and even big names are routinely cut so the studio/publisher/etc. can hire a film actor to do the VA work instead. Ironside? Hayter? No no, people don't care about those guys. Get me someone famous.

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  • tastydonutstastydonuts Registered User regular
    How is not granting residuals, which seems to be the sticking point here more than anything else treating them like disposable trash? Because that's actually core issue of the strike. The whole "our conditions" thing is just narrative flavor.
    LOS ANGELES (Oct. 20, 2016) – “This group of video game employers knowingly feeds off other industries that pay these same performers fairly to make a living. This represents a 'freeloader model of compensation' that we believe cannot and should not continue.

    “In this industry, which frequently uses performers and understands the intermittent and unpredictable nature of this type of work, fair compensation includes secondary payments when games hit a certain level of success with consumers, not simply higher upfront wages. Secondary compensation is what allows professional performers to feed their families in between jobs.

    “No matter what these companies are peddling in their press releases, this negotiation is not only about upfront compensation. It is about fairness and the ability of middle-class performers to survive in this industry. These companies are immensely profitable, and successful games — which are the only games this dispute is about – drive that profit.

    “We have proposed a fair payment structure that enables the sustainability of a professional performer community. These employers have unreasonably refused that. The time has come to end the freeloader model of compensation and that is why our members are united behind this cause.”

    Source
    ...The two issues of greatest contention are transparency and secondary compensation. While the companies are willing to disclose potentially objectionable material that may be involved in the role, they refuse to tell the performer’s agent what game the actor will be working on. This keeps the performer from being able to make an educated decision about whether to take job. This is unheard of in any of our other contracts.

    Regarding secondary compensation, employers have offered to give actors an upfront bonus based on number of sessions worked, starting at the second session worked. The negotiating team is willing to agree to their proposal, as long as secondary compensation is an option. In other words, an employer would have the option to buy out an actor by paying a bonus upfront or, if they prefer, they would have the option to pay a bonus after the game releases, if the game happens to sell more than 2 million units. The employers have refused to consider this option, excluding games from union talent if they are unable to afford the upfront bonus structure.

    The other issue being the lack of transparency on what game they're working on. A transparency which runs contrary to way the game industry (ALL TEH NDAS) works. Whether or not the culture of NDAs is a good/bad thing is debatable, but it is a core part of the industry. This would break it.

    Source

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  • Death of RatsDeath of Rats Registered User regular
    How is not granting residuals, which seems to be the sticking point here more than anything else treating them like disposable trash? Because that's actually core issue of the strike. The whole "our conditions" thing is just narrative flavor.
    LOS ANGELES (Oct. 20, 2016) – “This group of video game employers knowingly feeds off other industries that pay these same performers fairly to make a living. This represents a 'freeloader model of compensation' that we believe cannot and should not continue.

    “In this industry, which frequently uses performers and understands the intermittent and unpredictable nature of this type of work, fair compensation includes secondary payments when games hit a certain level of success with consumers, not simply higher upfront wages. Secondary compensation is what allows professional performers to feed their families in between jobs.

    “No matter what these companies are peddling in their press releases, this negotiation is not only about upfront compensation. It is about fairness and the ability of middle-class performers to survive in this industry. These companies are immensely profitable, and successful games — which are the only games this dispute is about – drive that profit.

    “We have proposed a fair payment structure that enables the sustainability of a professional performer community. These employers have unreasonably refused that. The time has come to end the freeloader model of compensation and that is why our members are united behind this cause.”

    Source
    ...The two issues of greatest contention are transparency and secondary compensation. While the companies are willing to disclose potentially objectionable material that may be involved in the role, they refuse to tell the performer’s agent what game the actor will be working on. This keeps the performer from being able to make an educated decision about whether to take job. This is unheard of in any of our other contracts.

    Regarding secondary compensation, employers have offered to give actors an upfront bonus based on number of sessions worked, starting at the second session worked. The negotiating team is willing to agree to their proposal, as long as secondary compensation is an option. In other words, an employer would have the option to buy out an actor by paying a bonus upfront or, if they prefer, they would have the option to pay a bonus after the game releases, if the game happens to sell more than 2 million units. The employers have refused to consider this option, excluding games from union talent if they are unable to afford the upfront bonus structure.

    The other issue being the lack of transparency on what game they're working on. A transparency which runs contrary to way the game industry (ALL TEH NDAS) works. Whether or not the culture of NDAs is a good/bad thing is debatable, but it is a core part of the industry. This would break it.

    Source

    How would transparency towards the performers break the nda culture? Just have that transparency be covered by an nda.

    If the industry wants to hire professional voice actors, they should be treated just like any other industry which regularly hires professional voice actors.

    It doesn't matter if the rest of the industry also is a shit show as far as employee protection/compensation/unionization, they can't expect voice actors to accept substandard conditions and protections when every other industry that utilizes them has those in place.

    The problem isn't voice actors being unreasonable in this, it's that the rest of the abused employees either can't change their conditions, or don't think those conditions can change. And that's fucked up. If voice actors can get their conditions changed, good on them.

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  • MorkathMorkath Registered User regular
    edited October 2016
    Morkath wrote: »
    And again, if they choose to live outside of those areas, why is that the developers problem? Don't apply for a job that is too far away.
    You do realize the cost of living in areas where game developers tend to congregate is normally quite high, right?

    Yes, and that is the case for anyone in that industry. Why do VA deserve special treatment?

    Why do VA deserve residuals when a lot of other people at that same company don't get them? They are an incredibly non-vital part of the industry, that are already payed extremely well for the little amount of work they actually have to do. Are we now lobbying for every position at the studio gets a cut of the profits? How are we determining percentage of the cut for each person?

    Even if normal employees did have them, they typically also lose them if they go to work at another company.

    Morkath on
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  • Death of RatsDeath of Rats Registered User regular
    edited October 2016
    Morkath wrote: »
    Morkath wrote: »
    And again, if they choose to live outside of those areas, why is that the developers problem? Don't apply for a job that is too far away.
    You do realize the cost of living in areas where game developers tend to congregate is normally quite high, right?

    Yes, and that is the case for anyone in that industry. Why do VA deserve special treatment?

    Why do VA deserve residuals when a lot of other people at that same company don't get them? They are an incredibly non-vital part of the industry, that are already payed extremely well for the little amount of work they actually have to do. Are we now lobbying for every position at the studio gets a cut of the profits? How are we determining percentage of the cut for each person?

    Even if normal employees did have them, they typically also lose them if they go to work at another company.

    I'd lobby for every position at studios to get a cut of the profits. Wouldn't you?

    It's not voice actor's responsibility to lobby for that. However, I doubt they'd be against other workers lobbying for that.

    In other words I'm sure they'd stand with programmers or designers striking because of work conditions/wage disputes. But they have no reason to stand up for them when those groups won't stand up for themselves.

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  • ErlkönigErlkönig Registered User regular
    edited October 2016
    Morkath wrote: »
    Morkath wrote: »
    And again, if they choose to live outside of those areas, why is that the developers problem? Don't apply for a job that is too far away.
    You do realize the cost of living in areas where game developers tend to congregate is normally quite high, right?

    Yes, and that is the case for anyone in that industry. Why do VA deserve special treatment?

    Why do VA deserve residuals when a lot of other people at that same company don't get them? They are an incredibly non-vital part of the industry, that are already payed extremely well for the little amount of work they actually have to do. Are we now lobbying for every position at the studio gets a cut of the profits? How are we determining percentage of the cut for each person?

    Even if normal employees did have them, they typically also lose them if they go to work at another company.

    I'm curious about something, Morkath: what, in your view, do you consider being "payed extremely well"? And I don't mean the per-hourly wage, I mean the actual take-home per project (we'll use the $100/hr wage as a starting point). I have a feeling that there's a substantial disconnect happening between your views of how much VAs make and what other people are saying they make.

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  • DhalphirDhalphir don't you open that trapdoor you're a fool if you dareRegistered User regular
    edited October 2016
    Morkath wrote: »
    Why do VA deserve residuals when a lot of other people at that same company don't get them?

    It's extremely simple. Those other people at the company have a steady job. VAs do not. Barring redundancies, a dev, artist, or designer does not have to wonder about where his next job is coming from, or audition for every piece of work he does, or go weeks without any pay because things just lined up that there was no work for a couple weeks.

    You cannot compare salary and hourly contract work. Period.

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  • The WolfmanThe Wolfman Registered User regular
    Hell, even with sequels, it's a bloody coin toss whether they'll get the same actors back in or not.

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  • Death of RatsDeath of Rats Registered User regular
    edited October 2016
    Hell, even with sequels, it's a bloody coin toss whether they'll get the same actors back in or not.

    Exactly. There's a reason actors of all types have to have agents, jobs for lesser known actors aren't exactly a steady thing. There has to be someone to keep track of scheduling for jobs and auditions as well as fighting for you to get into that audition room.

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  • tastydonutstastydonuts Registered User regular
    edited October 2016
    How is not granting residuals, which seems to be the sticking point here more than anything else treating them like disposable trash? Because that's actually core issue of the strike. The whole "our conditions" thing is just narrative flavor.
    LOS ANGELES (Oct. 20, 2016) – “This group of video game employers knowingly feeds off other industries that pay these same performers fairly to make a living. This represents a 'freeloader model of compensation' that we believe cannot and should not continue.

    “In this industry, which frequently uses performers and understands the intermittent and unpredictable nature of this type of work, fair compensation includes secondary payments when games hit a certain level of success with consumers, not simply higher upfront wages. Secondary compensation is what allows professional performers to feed their families in between jobs.

    “No matter what these companies are peddling in their press releases, this negotiation is not only about upfront compensation. It is about fairness and the ability of middle-class performers to survive in this industry. These companies are immensely profitable, and successful games — which are the only games this dispute is about – drive that profit.

    “We have proposed a fair payment structure that enables the sustainability of a professional performer community. These employers have unreasonably refused that. The time has come to end the freeloader model of compensation and that is why our members are united behind this cause.”

    Source
    ...The two issues of greatest contention are transparency and secondary compensation. While the companies are willing to disclose potentially objectionable material that may be involved in the role, they refuse to tell the performer’s agent what game the actor will be working on. This keeps the performer from being able to make an educated decision about whether to take job. This is unheard of in any of our other contracts.

    Regarding secondary compensation, employers have offered to give actors an upfront bonus based on number of sessions worked, starting at the second session worked. The negotiating team is willing to agree to their proposal, as long as secondary compensation is an option. In other words, an employer would have the option to buy out an actor by paying a bonus upfront or, if they prefer, they would have the option to pay a bonus after the game releases, if the game happens to sell more than 2 million units. The employers have refused to consider this option, excluding games from union talent if they are unable to afford the upfront bonus structure.

    The other issue being the lack of transparency on what game they're working on. A transparency which runs contrary to way the game industry (ALL TEH NDAS) works. Whether or not the culture of NDAs is a good/bad thing is debatable, but it is a core part of the industry. This would break it.

    Source

    How would transparency towards the performers break the nda culture? Just have that transparency be covered by an nda.

    If the industry wants to hire professional voice actors, they should be treated just like any other industry which regularly hires professional voice actors.

    It doesn't matter if the rest of the industry also is a shit show as far as employee protection/compensation/unionization, they can't expect voice actors to accept substandard conditions and protections when every other industry that utilizes them has those in place.

    The problem isn't voice actors being unreasonable in this, it's that the rest of the abused employees either can't change their conditions, or don't think those conditions can change. And that's fucked up. If voice actors can get their conditions changed, good on them.

    Eh, I feel that paying the voice actors more, upfront is a more reasonable thing than the residual arrangement. It is a thing that can be budgeted and accounted for on the front end. There is no guarantee that a game will sell 2 - 8 million units, nor be profitable in doing so. Putting them into a position where the publisher even has the option of a profit share isn't advantageous for them. The do the buyout in lieu of a residual (the amounts/percentage of which I haven't been able to find) and the game tanks... derp. That's another risk in an already high risk area. While revenue may be increasing, this doesn't necessarily translate to profit increasing for a number of reasons. The fact that they "get a cut in other industries" isn't really a valid basis for them to get a cut in this one too, imo. A movie flops and it can make it up when it goes on video. A TV show with enough episodes to hit syndication or just get licensed to air also still generates money. A game flops hard and most of the latter sales will come in the form of the second hand market and/or when the dev are already dead and gone (publishers don't eat flopped games so much as developers do).

    Give them more money? Sure. Ensure a safe environment for workers? Absolutely. Give them residuals? Nope. No real need to go back and forth over that one, at least on my part, so if you agree with them, that's fine. I don't.

    Adding another layer of NDA wouldn't be as secure as simply not sharing the information period too. So... again, nope.

    It's well within their rights to fight for those things, I guess we'll see how it plays out.

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  • SmokeStacksSmokeStacks The Myth, the Legend, the Bowman, the Shambler FuckerRegistered User regular
    I'd lobby for every position at studios to get a cut of the profits. Wouldn't you?

    This is one of those statements that is really great in spirit but if put into practice you'd just complain about how videogames cost $90 now.

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  • Death of RatsDeath of Rats Registered User regular
    I'd lobby for every position at studios to get a cut of the profits. Wouldn't you?

    This is one of those statements that is really great in spirit but if put into practice you'd just complain about how videogames cost $90 now.

    Nah.

    No I don't.
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  • SmokeStacksSmokeStacks The Myth, the Legend, the Bowman, the Shambler FuckerRegistered User regular
    I'd lobby for every position at studios to get a cut of the profits. Wouldn't you?

    This is one of those statements that is really great in spirit but if put into practice you'd just complain about how videogames cost $90 now.

    Nah.

    This is an industry where game budgets are ballooning into the nine digit range because people are demanding accurate reflections on the 4096x4096 texture that makes up a background NPC character's tooth, where games regularly have to sell millions of copies before they even break even, an industry where such financial concerns have caused a complete stagnation in new IPs in favor of established properties and sequels... and you want to encourage that by cutting margins even further?

    Where exactly do you think money like that would even come from?

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  • ErlkönigErlkönig Registered User regular
    edited October 2016
    I'd lobby for every position at studios to get a cut of the profits. Wouldn't you?

    This is one of those statements that is really great in spirit but if put into practice you'd just complain about how videogames cost $90 now.

    Nah.

    This is an industry where game budgets are ballooning into the nine digit range because people are demanding accurate reflections on the 4096x4096 texture that makes up a background NPC character's tooth, where games regularly have to sell millions of copies before they even break even, an industry where such financial concerns have caused a complete stagnation in new IPs in favor of established properties and sequels... and you want to encourage that by cutting margins even further?

    Where exactly do you think money like that would even come from?

    I think Rats was saying "Nah" to complaining about the increase in game price. At least, I hope that's what the "Nah" was about, since that's what I was agreeing with.

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  • Knight_Knight_ Dead Dead Dead Registered User regular
    An industry with a 100% broken business model that manages to get by because they treat everyone in it like total crap is not exactly a great thing.

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  • Death of RatsDeath of Rats Registered User regular
    I'd lobby for every position at studios to get a cut of the profits. Wouldn't you?

    This is one of those statements that is really great in spirit but if put into practice you'd just complain about how videogames cost $90 now.

    Nah.

    This is an industry where game budgets are ballooning into the nine digit range because people are demanding accurate reflections on the 4096x4096 texture that makes up a background NPC character's tooth, where games regularly have to sell millions of copies before they even break even, an industry where such financial concerns have caused a complete stagnation in new IPs in favor of established properties and sequels... and you want to encourage that by cutting margins even further?

    Where exactly do you think money like that would even come from?

    I'm fine with paying more if I know developers are getting a fair share for their work instead of a lump sum and a boot out the door. Game prices should be raised anyways, games staying at around the same price for the last 10+ years is ridiculous and is as much of the problem, if not more so, as ballooning budgets.

    No I don't.
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  • Death of RatsDeath of Rats Registered User regular
    Knight_ wrote: »
    An industry with a 100% broken business model that manages to get by because they treat everyone in it like total crap is not exactly a great thing.

    Yeah, this. The industry is broken in so many ways. And, for some god awful reason, people who enjoy games seem to defend the broken parts of the industry feverishly.

    No I don't.
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  • The WolfmanThe Wolfman Registered User regular
    Assuming the situation arises where, in order to pay and treat all people involved in game development, publishers whined "But then we can't make a profit!", 2 things can happen.

    -They can raise the price so their profit margin remains the same. And have fun with the backlash and the reality of people buying even less games and making it that much harder to profit. If you thought the AAA industry was shit now, hoo boy...
    -Scale back overall costs, development, and expectations. No more 150+ million dev costs and 7+ million sales.

    I would be in total support of 2. Stop breaking your piggy bank going to the bleeding edge

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  • MorkathMorkath Registered User regular
    Erlkönig wrote: »
    Morkath wrote: »
    Morkath wrote: »
    And again, if they choose to live outside of those areas, why is that the developers problem? Don't apply for a job that is too far away.
    You do realize the cost of living in areas where game developers tend to congregate is normally quite high, right?

    Yes, and that is the case for anyone in that industry. Why do VA deserve special treatment?

    Why do VA deserve residuals when a lot of other people at that same company don't get them? They are an incredibly non-vital part of the industry, that are already payed extremely well for the little amount of work they actually have to do. Are we now lobbying for every position at the studio gets a cut of the profits? How are we determining percentage of the cut for each person?

    Even if normal employees did have them, they typically also lose them if they go to work at another company.

    I'm curious about something, Morkath: what, in your view, do you consider being "payed extremely well"? And I don't mean the per-hourly wage, I mean the actual take-home per project (we'll use the $100/hr wage as a starting point). I have a feeling that there's a substantial disconnect happening between your views of how much VAs make and what other people are saying they make.

    So we are saying they make $100/hr, and lets say work for 4 hours? They just made $400 in half a day. For unskilled, non-physical labor. How is that NOT being payed extremely well? They have already made more than what someone on minimum wage makes in the entire week, and nothing is preventing them from doing any other work in the remaining 36 hours in the week.

    Lets say the game takes 2 years to create. Let's also do the impossible and create it using only 40 hour work weeks. That is 3840 hours per employee, per game. We are a middling studio and have 40 employees. That puts us up to 153,600 hours to create the game.

    That puts the VA at roughly, 0.0026% of the total effort to create the game.

    Math spoilered;
    Say we sell a million copies. We have 60mil gross. (Not accurate, since this doesn't account for retail cut, but w/e)
    Say every employee makes 50k a year. Deduct 4mil.
    Lease deducts say, 2mil.
    Deduct another 1mil for operating expenses (computers, etc).
    Publisher cut of ~30%, 18 million.

    That leaves us with, 35million net. Let's dump half of that into keeping everyone employed while we work on the next game.

    0.0026% of 17.5 mill, is $455 dollars.
    A normal employee is at 2.5%, of 17.5 mill - 455, is $437,488.62 dollars.

    This obviously isn't going to fly. So lets say we cut it down to a more likely 1/40th.

    VA gets $11.37. Normal employee gets $10,937.21.

    There you go.

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  • SmokeStacksSmokeStacks The Myth, the Legend, the Bowman, the Shambler FuckerRegistered User regular
    This is kind of Billy West's personal crusade: voice actors in general are treated like shit, and even big names are routinely cut so the studio/publisher/etc. can hire a film actor to do the VA work instead. Ironside? Hayter? No no, people don't care about those guys. Get me someone famous.

    Micheal Ironside is a film actor. He's been in movies since the late 70s. Him getting cast as Sam Fisher is one of the big early examples of Hollywood actors moving into (the post FMV game era) videogame VA.
    Assuming the situation arises where, in order to pay and treat all people involved in game development, publishers whined "But then we can't make a profit!", 2 things can happen.

    -They can raise the price so their profit margin remains the same. And have fun with the backlash and the reality of people buying even less games and making it that much harder to profit. If you thought the AAA industry was shit now, hoo boy...
    -Scale back overall costs, development, and expectations. No more 150+ million dev costs and 7+ million sales.

    I would be in total support of 2. Stop breaking your piggy bank going to the bleeding edge

    Number 2 is why the indie game market is doing as well as it is. People are showing support for games with lower budgets and lower pricetags.
    I'm fine with paying more if I know developers are getting a fair share for their work instead of a lump sum and a boot out the door. Game prices should be raised anyways, games staying at around the same price for the last 10+ years is ridiculous and is as much of the problem, if not more so, as ballooning budgets.

    For a lot of people, the price of games has been raised. Why do you think so many new games are getting deluxe editions and tons of DLC and a $30-$40 (or in the case of Battlefront, $50) "season pass"? That stuff sells. It's the only way developers can try to recoup their shitty budgets without breaking the psychological barrier of $60.

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  • Knight_Knight_ Dead Dead Dead Registered User regular
    Well great, for your totally silly example, the voice actor wouldn't get any residuals since they don't trigger until 2 million copies sold, which is the mark they consider to be generally profitable. And then again at 4, 6, and 8 million copies.

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  • DarkPrimusDarkPrimus premium Registered User regular
    This is kind of Billy West's personal crusade: voice actors in general are treated like shit, and even big names are routinely cut so the studio/publisher/etc. can hire a film actor to do the VA work instead. Ironside? Hayter? No no, people don't care about those guys. Get me someone famous.

    To use an anecdote from a professional vocal artist I met once (more of a singer than voice actor, but same principle here): Many of his jobs are him performing guidance tracks for the Hollywood actors to imitate when they are performing their songs for animated films.

    Fun sidebar to that: One of the projects he worked on, the Hollywood actor couldn't deliver all the things they wanted, so they used some bits from his guidance track in the final film, and as a result he gets tiny little residual checks.

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  • Death of RatsDeath of Rats Registered User regular
    Since when is voice acting something that is unskilled? Since when is mo-cap not physical labor?

    No I don't.
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