Overwatch Voice Actor Crispin Freeman Speaks Out About Strike: “Things Must Change!”
SAG-AFTRA (The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) strikes have continued since October 21st, 2016. Though not as fervently or in public spaces, voice actors still demand fair treatment and pay with several video game companies. As much as many video game companies would hesitate to admit – they are considered part of the entertainment industry. The standards must be held to a similar degree. Crispin Freeman opens up about his experiences in the industry, and his thoughts on how things should change.
Freeman mentions in an interview:
I’ve been asked to work on games without knowing what the game was and then shown up and been told I’m going to have to use the N word repeatedly…I understand the video game industry is secretive, and so we told them it doesn’t have to be during auditions. During auditions, keep it all code names and top secret.
Voice actors also want to know what project they’re heading into if they are chosen for the project. Perhaps a bit of warning regarding their role. Is that so much to ask?
Additionally, is it not alarming when voice actors are placed in physical danger because the standards of treatment for them are lowered? Apparently, stunt coordinators are a perk, not a necessity when a developer desires a more realistic sound. In one instance, for example, a video game developer attempted to wire-pull an actor across a room without a safety advisor. Unfortunately, the actor was hurt and needed to recover, losing precious time for work and income.
Quite a few well-known corporations are on the hot seat for improper treatment, and jipping actors of fair pay. This includes: Activision, Blindlight, Electronic Arts, Formosa, and many others. Keep in mind that complaints and experiences from voice actors vary per company, but the ones mentioned in this list are there for a reason (or many). Thankfully, according to Crispin Freeman, since Blizzard began working with the SAG-AFTRA union – they have been a shining example of the way the actors should be treated.
Freeman expresses his disappointment and frustration. The ordeal has been tiresome and disheartening:
We negotiated with them for 19 months in good faith. It’s the longest negotiation SAG-AFTRA has ever done. It was the last thing we wanted to do, but they left us with no choice.
As Don’t Feed the Gamers have reported before, the attitude toward voice actors are appalling in many cases. Voice actor Tara Strong, for example, was told that “No one really cares about the voices.” In other cases, actors have been told they simply don’t matter at all. That a game can go on without them.
#performancematters Final straw 4 me was one of the negotiators looked in my eyes & said, "No one really cares about the voices"
— tara strong (@tarastrong) October 21, 2016
Freeman believes it is a matter of poor communication, and ignorance – in the most neutral sense of the word. Freeman stated that many times, video game companies do not interact with voice actors until much later into the project. Actors almost become an after thought due to disassociation.
It is as good a time than any other to say #PerformanceMatters alongside the actors who bring our most beloved characters to life, like Lucio’s voice actor Jonny Cruz when he interacts with other Overwatch actors in real life. Voice actors want a standard, one that corporations will abide by.
Fair treatment. Fair pay. Safety.
What do you think of the SAG-AFTRA strikes? Do you believe voice actors are in the right, or are they demanding too much? Who is or are your favorite voice actor? Let us know in the comments down below!
Hoi Duong2131 Posts
Hoi is an elusive figure at DFTG, whose favorite past-times include chillin' in the Fade, reading manga, watching anime, collecting novelty items, and gaming.