Why Gamers Should Care About the Voice Actors Strike

You don’t matter and no one cares about what you do. What you bring to the industry, your hard work, your sacrifices; any literal blood, sweat, or tears is a complete waste. You’re not appreciated, and you’re not important to this process. Harsh words. Harsh because, no matter what job you do, hearing something like this is impossible to swallow. Harsh because what you do SHOULD matter, and DOES matter. So imagine that you’re sitting down with your employer, asking for a fair shake and they tell you that you don’t matter. I would strike too.

Take a moment, just one, as you sit in the warm glow of your respective screens and consider your favorite game or show. Consider all of the elements of that piece of art that drew you in, that made you fall in love with the characters and the story. Now imagine it without sound. No voice. Does it have the same impact? Would Commander Shepard’s final speech have the same inspiring drive against such bleak odds? Would Master Chief be as much of a badass? Would Link’s “HYAAAAAA!” make you  feel like you smashed the hell out of those pots? Probably not.

This voice actors strike, the SAG-AFTRA Strike, is about a lot of things that simply don’t manifest themselves on the consumer end. We get the final product, shiny and new, and never realize the problematic circumstances upon which this was made. Imagine a job where you get to consider yourself lucky if you didn’t need major surgery at some point, or lost your ability to work because of the harsh working conditions you’re under. Would you do that job? Would you buy a product made under those conditions? Yet every day voice actors work under these conditions. I had no idea. So few of us did.

Since the announcement that SAG-AFTRA was going on strike, we’ve heard a steady stream of stories about actors getting hurt on the job. Bleeding from the throat, doing dangerous motion capture work without stunt coordinators, and so much more. What the voice actors want is pretty simple. A safe environment to work in without a reduction in pay, fair compensation, and transparency in what is expected for the job. Yet, every step of the way negotiations have been less and less productive as employers continue to dig in their heels.

Maybe you’re on the side of the employer? Maybe none of this matters to you. But if a game, show, or movie has ever changed your life, made you a new friend, or altered your perspective in some way, you have to admit that a big part of that is because of voice acting. There is a very long list of others were involved whose names we skip at the end scene. They all matter. No one is arguing that they don’t. But this strike is about an ongoing issue that has festered for nearly 22 years and to silence that because of the “what abouts” takes away from the matter at hand and is also insulting to those people who are involved in other ways. Many of them are behind this movement, and it can only serve to inspire others in the industry to demand fair treatment as well.

I know that the games I love the most, that made the most impact on me in some way, all had two very important things driving them. Story and solid acting. The two belong together. When I think about the performances in Life is Strange, Mass Effect, or even Cowboy Bebop,  games and shows that moved me to literal tears and made me fall in actual love with the characters, I’m nothing but grateful. Grateful because I shared an experience, learned something new, was inspired, sometimes these things have even saved my life. So it angers me to discover that so many people that work in the industry are having such a hard time.

https://twitter.com/SeanSchemmel/status/787420126345695237

Many of you probably already feel pretty strongly about all of this. You probably have a favorite voice actor, or at least have a favorite show or game in which voice acting was a part of production. Some part of you already has a stake in this, in as much as some part of me does as well. This is our fight too. It’s my strike, and your strike. Tomorrow members of SAG-AFTRA take to the streets, starting at the door step of EA. They’re asking for respect, for fairness, for consideration. They deserve it and they deserve our support. So if you’re still questioning, “why should I care about the SAG-AFTRA strike?” know that more is to be lost than a pay check. When they hit that picket line, I’ll be there in spirit, and I hope you’ll join me in supporting them. Because at the end of the day, Performance Matters.

We’d love to hear how your favorite voice actor has impacted your life, Tell us why performance matters to you in the comments below.

Charles Douglas734 Posts

Deep in the mountains of the south west lives a man who writes game editorials, makes YouTube Videos, and is an overall mega nerd. An avid believer in Unicorns, and your new all star line backer, Number 34, CHARLES DOUGLAAAAAAASSSS!!!!

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