The Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (or SAG-AFTRA) has traditionally threatened to strike when their working conditions have been deemed unfair to voice actors. Now, using the hashtag #performancematters, SAG-AFTRA plans to strike a variety of major publishers within the gaming industry on Oct 21st.
"We head back to the table Oct. 17-19 with the goal of creating a fair contract that is rooted in industry standards and best practices," SAG-AFTRA writes in an official press release. "Based on past experience, we are not confident management is willing to make the changes necessary to bring this contract up to the standards of our other agreements."
The strike, which would begin Oct 21st at 12:01 am, would affect Activision, Blindlight, Corps of Disocvery Films, Disney Character Voices, EA, Formosa Interactive, Insomniac, Interactive Associates, Take 2, VoiceWorks Productions and WB Games. As of this article's writing, no other publishers are affected, and the strike would only impact any game that began production after Feb 17th, 2015.
According to a strike bulletin published by SAG-AFTRA, key issues on the negotiation table include back-end compensation, better payment for vocal stress, transparency on performer actions in the recording booth and enforcement of the Interactive Media Agreement's stunt coordinator requirement whenever stunt sequences are performed.
All things considered, SAG-AFTRA's demands sound fair. Voice acting is particularly stressful in the gaming industry, no doubt on account of the sheer level of vocal strain that's involved in creating death sounds, screams, physical grunts and other forms of yelling and shouting. It's important to note, too, that SAG-AFTRA isn't striking every company in the gaming industry. This is a very specific strike, one that is largely affecting major AAA productions. And with EA, Disney, Activision and Insomniac falling on that list, there's definitely some major titles that will be impacted as negotiations continue on.
Stay tuned as more news develops this week. Unless SAG-AFTRA meets a contract agreement over the next couple of days, then a strike will certainly go into effect. We'll report if that happens.