It’s been almost a year, but now it seems like the voice actor strike against 11 game companies is ending, a press release from Screen Actors’ Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) said today. Voice actors was demanding residual payments, better protections for their voices, as well as more transparency about what projects they are a part of. The tentative agreement supposedly involves much, but not all, of these demands.
The press release reads:
“The terms of the tentative agreement, which was reached early Saturday morning, include a new bonus structure that provides an additional payment to performers. 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. The deal also contains an employer commitment to continue working with SAG-AFTRA on the issue of vocal stress during the term of the agreement.”
Although the residual payments SAG-AFTRA wanted haven’t seen to have made it into the new tentative agreement, voice actors will receive bonus payments “beginning with $75 for the first session, and totaling $2,100 after 10 sessions worked”. It’s not much, but it’s (a lot) better than nothing.
“The bonus payments we have now are significantly larger now than what we had 11 months ago. And the existence of additional payments beyond your session fee is in the video game world for good, both in our high-budget and independent promulgated agreements.” – Keythe Farley, the chair of SAG-AFTRA’s Interactive Negotiating Committee.
The agreement will not include some of the things the companies allegedly wanted, which included:
“A provision that would have fined performers for being late or distracted at session, another that would have required agents to submit performers for low-paying ‘atmospheric voice’ sessions or face fines, and a possible revocation of their union franchise, and another that would have allowed employers to use their permanent staff to do covered work outside of the collective bargaining agreement.”
The strike took a toll on some voice actors’ ability to continue working with their favorite roles. Most prominently, Ashly Burch’s reprisal as Chloe Price in Life is Strange: Before the Storm. In an interview, Burch said “It feels like you are forced to put your kid up for adoption” and that she was “heartbroken”.
The new deal is a small (but well-deserved) victory for video game voice actors, who wanted their effort recognized in a difficult, sometimes thankless and, most of all, demanding field of work.