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Author Topic: Videogame voice actors to go on strike - not paid enough?  (Read 1756 times)
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« on: May 27, 2005, 01:39:05 PM »

I saw this story on Wired News this morning.  At issue:
Quote
On Tuesday, two Hollywood unions representing actors asked members to green light a strike against electronic game manufacturers when contract negotiations between the two sides fell apart.

Roughly 1,900 Screen Actors Guild, or SAG, members and 1,000 American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, or AFTRA, members were asked for authorization to strike against 70 video-game publishers including Activision, Electronic Arts, Vivendi Universal, Rockstar Games and LucasArts.

The most contentious issue at hand: whether actors should be entitled to a share of the profits from video games that feature their voices.

"Nine of the top 10 selling games in 2004 were produced with union contracts, using union voice talent -- and because of that, the quality of those games becomes exponentially higher," said Seth Ostrom, a representative of SAG and AFTRA.


So how important is it that today's video games have Hollywood-caliber voice acting?  Does their presence in a game really raise the quality "exponentially"?
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JayG
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« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2005, 02:00:09 PM »

It is sad how hard the voice actors have to work in the video games industry. Tied to the voice booths for many months at a time, striving to attain the inspiration for the beauty they contribute to our art form, while the lazy programmers play table tennis. It is sad, I hope that they get at least 50 % of the profits, for they sure deserve it.
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Andrew Mallon
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« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2005, 03:31:14 PM »

Union rates for voice actors now is around $280.00/hour.
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« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2005, 03:34:47 PM »

There is a certain immersion is lost when you don't get the big names but there are PLENTY of people out there looking for a break - I'm comfortable with the sound-alikes as long as they get the job done.
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« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2005, 07:37:12 PM »

For me bad voice acting is more noticable these days now that I have herd more quality work done on some games. I think for the most part it only matters for now when dealing with movie tie-in games, and getting the movie actors to do the voice roles.
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« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2005, 08:44:18 PM »

In the animation business, good voice work can carry bad animation, but good animation can't carry bad voicework.
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Andrew Mallon
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« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2005, 08:48:57 PM »

Quote from: "Turtle"
In the animation business, good voice work can carry bad animation, but good animation can't carry bad voicework.


Then why is all English voice work in anime bad? biggrin
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« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2005, 10:15:25 PM »

Screw em.  I could care less about them.  Give the money to the folks who actually had to work to put the game together.
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« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2005, 10:18:47 PM »

If you look at sales, anime sales have only recently begun to take off, althougn not caused, but it does coincide with the introduction of Pioneer's great dubbing work on animes like Trigun and Cowboy Bebop.  The main sales back there were fans, nowadays there's casual buys.

In fact, a lot of anime now has very good voicework, although they're still rather limited by the language difference, culture, character issues.

Anyone remember Evil Islands?  A pretty good game marred by absolutely horrible voice acting.  It would have done well if not for everyone saying how bad the voicework was.
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Dimmona
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« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2005, 10:41:39 PM »

Keep in mind that they offered to raise the union wage for voice workers to something around $350/hr, and the union turned it down.

I dunno; I agree that voicework can make or break a game but that doesn't necessarily mean that good voicework is limited to the folks in question.  

Anybody remember Shodan from System Shock 2?  I believe that was one of the developer's wives....
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Kevin Grey
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« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2005, 11:02:20 PM »

Quote from: "Interloper"
Screw em.  I could care less about them.  Give the money to the folks who actually had to work to put the game together.


Few things turn me away from a game quicker than poor voice acting.

I don't care if its union or non-union but there is just no excuse for poor voice acting in this day and age.
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« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2005, 11:06:42 PM »

Quote from: "Interloper"
Screw em.  I could care less about them.  Give the money to the folks who actually had to work to put the game together.
I agree completely.

Since video game voice acting seems to suck more than 50% of the time anyway, why should I give two flips if I'm not going to have to mute it anymore?
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« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2005, 05:44:54 AM »

Quote from: "Dimmona"
Anybody remember Shodan from System Shock 2?  I believe that was one of the developer's wives....

Now that's cool.

Or just go the Rare route - according to what I know, all Rare titles were voiced exclusively with fellow coworkers, friends, and family. And for the most part, it was really well done, too.
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« Reply #13 on: May 28, 2005, 06:50:43 AM »

Quote from: "Destructor"
Quote from: "Dimmona"
Anybody remember Shodan from System Shock 2?  I believe that was one of the developer's wives....

Now that's cool.

Or just go the Rare route - according to what I know, all Rare titles were voiced exclusively with fellow coworkers, friends, and family. And for the most part, it was really well done, too.


They probably care a lot more. A lot of voice acting from the bigger starts sounds like they really couldn't care less. I remember being incredibly excited years ago when the Cd version of the Star Trek adventure game was first released. It feels like a different age. With a few notable exceptions (Patrick Stewert and Christopher Walken are always good value for money), most high profile voice-over walk is tat.
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« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2005, 07:05:56 AM »

Quote from: "Dimmona"

Anybody remember Shodan from System Shock 2?  I believe that was one of the developer's wives....


Yep, you're talking about Terri Brosius who is married to Eric Brosius who did the music for a lot of the Looking Glass/Irrational/Ion Storm games.  Terri also worked for the companies and did writing for the Thief series.  She was also the voice of Viktoria from the first Thief.  The husband/wife team was part of the band Tribe if anyone remembers them from the early 90s.
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« Reply #15 on: May 28, 2005, 04:38:32 PM »

Quote from: "JayG"
They probably care a lot more. A lot of voice acting from the bigger starts sounds like they really couldn't care less. I remember being incredibly excited years ago when the Cd version of the Star Trek adventure game was first released. It feels like a different age. With a few notable exceptions (Patrick Stewert and Christopher Walken are always good value for money), most high profile voice-over walk is tat.

A very good point. Most 'professional' voice acting I've heard (especially if it's a big 'selling point' of the game, tends to suck. David Ducoveny (however you spell it) anyone?
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« Reply #16 on: May 28, 2005, 08:05:44 PM »

Quote from: "JayG"

They probably care a lot more. A lot of voice acting from the bigger starts sounds like they really couldn't care less. I remember being incredibly excited years ago when the Cd version of the Star Trek adventure game was first released. It feels like a different age. With a few notable exceptions (Patrick Stewert and Christopher Walken are always good value for money), most high profile voice-over walk is tat.


Does anyone not remember the horrid voice acting from the early to mid 90s where devs were recruiting their friends and families for voices?  

I'm not much on getting stars to voice in games because they often could care less (the Duchovny example above) but I think professional voice actors make a huge difference.
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Bob
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« Reply #17 on: May 31, 2005, 03:32:14 PM »

Quote from: "Kevin Grey"
I'm not much on getting stars to voice in games because they often could care less (the Duchovny example above) but I think professional voice actors make a huge difference.

I agree, but not enough that they should be getting residuals before the designers, artists, and programmers do.
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« Reply #18 on: May 31, 2005, 06:13:25 PM »

Wow, I cant believe some of you want to go back to amateur voice actors. They have been so unbelieveably bad in almost every game I can remember I shudder to think about them voicing all game content.
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« Reply #19 on: May 31, 2005, 07:13:52 PM »

Voice Actors are a part of the game making process. That is like saying the artist who draw texures is not a part of the game making process, or the writers who flesh out the worlds with words. So if they aren't sitting infront of a computer crunching out code they aren't a part of the game? What about the musicians? Entire orchestras of people, they aren't a part of the game making process?

For whatever, the logic of saying they aren't a part of the game making process seems a bit flawed.  

EQ2 is a wonderfully well done game when it comes to voice work. One of the fun things I enjoy doing is going around listening to the many characters act out their roles. Very engrossing and always a pleasure to hear new dialog. The world just feels more alive because of the voice acting, and makes other RPGs seem so dead in comparison.
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