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BobV

Voice actors for games go on strike!?!?

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BobV    416
OK, this is just ridiculous. Take a look at this article about voice actors going on strike. They feel they are entitled to royalties of game sales as apposed to a flat fee. This is just sad. They feel that since actors in movies get such a big fat pay check, voice actors in games should get equally compensated since they(games) generate similar amounts of revenue. Games != movies. In a movie, acting is one of the key ingredients. In games, having a professional voice actor is sugar coating. There is far less work in voice acting then say.... programming, modelers, level designers, etc ,etc. These people don't typically get royalties. If voice actors became the highest paid people in video game development, I'd instantly become disgusted with the industry. Sure, it's sad when something generates a huge chunk of cash and the money doesn't actually get to those who produced it, but that's business.

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Riviera Kid    142
i think profession voice acting is amazing and we should have more of it. Pay them!!

the incredibles, toy story, antz, a bugs life. Voice acting = acting.

the lack of pay voice actors recieve in the games industry is the reaosn we dont hear the likes of samuel jackson or sylvester stalone.

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omegasyphon    100
so your saying that we should pay an extra 15 bucks to voice actors because the 2 minutes the speak in the game was so pivitol, that you couldnt figure out the plot instead of just PLAYING the game? oh wait, their was no plot.

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MonkeyInBlack    263
Quote:
Original post by Riviera Kid
the lack of pay voice actors recieve in the games industry is the reaosn we dont hear the likes of sylvester stalone.

If that's the reason than we definitly shouldn't pay 'm royalties !

That money should go to the people who do deserve it : the programmers, artists and musisians who make the games. Not to people who get in for 15 minutes of recording.

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Sandman    2210
I don't think a strike would do them much good - they are more likely to get replaced by non-union actors (or by the developers/random people picked off the street/microsoft sam)

Much depends on the sort of royalties their expecting to get. I don't think all that many actors can do much for a game's sales based on their voice talents alone. Ultimately other factors are far higher on the gamers list of priorities - graphics, physics, maybe even gameplay somewhere on the list [grin] and therefore I'm not really convinced that they could justify a significant royalty percentage.

No doubt, if the producers want a particular voice enough, they'll work out some sort of deal to get it.

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kSquared    1356
Quote:
Original post by BobV
Games != movies. In a movie, acting is one of the key ingredients. In games, having a professional voice actor is sugar coating. There is far less work in voice acting then say.... programming, modelers, level designers, etc ,etc. These people don't typically get royalties.

Economics has a lot to say about this. You could argue that set design and musical scores are integral parts of movies as well. But do they make or break a movie? Hard to say. That's why Tom Cruise the actor-cum-Scientologist gets $20 million a picture, while Tom Cruise the set builder gets $50,000 for a year's work on Mission: Impossible. The success of the movie depends much more heavily on whether or not Tom Cruise the actor pulls off his lines, and much less heavily on whether or not Tom Cruise the set builder makes some snazzy scenes.

Analogously, if it can be shown that the presence or lack of voice acting in games is a significant factor in their success, I'd say the position of the voice actors is justified. I also wouldn't be too quick to dismiss voice acting as icing on the cake. With the hyper-realism we're seeing from games lately, it's only a matter of time before voice acting is pretty much a given in a high-end product. On the other hand, it's already prohibitively expensive to make a game -- having yet another cost could be the straw that breaks teh camel's back.

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BobV    416
Quote:
Original post by kSquared

Economics has a lot to say about this. You could argue that set design and musical scores are integral parts of movies as well. But do they make or break a movie? Hard to say. That's why Tom Cruise the actor-cum-Scientologist gets $20 million a picture, while Tom Cruise the set builder gets $50,000 for a year's work on Mission: Impossible. The success of the movie depends much more heavily on whether or not Tom Cruise the actor pulls off his lines, and much less heavily on whether or not Tom Cruise the set builder makes some snazzy scenes.

Analogously, if it can be shown that the presence or lack of voice acting in games is a significant factor in their success, I'd say the position of the voice actors is justified. I also wouldn't be too quick to dismiss voice acting as icing on the cake. With the hyper-realism we're seeing from games lately, it's only a matter of time before voice acting is pretty much a given in a high-end product. On the other hand, it's already prohibitively expensive to make a game -- having yet another cost could be the straw that breaks teh camel's back.


An A list actor can sell a picture. You know that if you have 'tom cruise' you will make at least X amount because of his fan base alone. In movie goers minds they think, hmm if this actor did this movie, then it must be good. Because of these facts, the demand is very high and they make special consessions to get these big names. In a TV series that is making a lot of money, it could have serious impacts to change up actors/voice actors, once the show becomes popular, these actors can begin bargin for higher wages.

You don't see people going out and buying Halo because they thought the guy who did the voice over was amazing. I'll even use a game that relies pretty heavy on voice acting for an example; KOTOR. That game wouldn't be nearly as good without the voices, but I didn't pay any attention to who did it. So if the lead programmer did the voice for all the wookies or 'tom cruise' did them would make little difference to me. Though, I will agree, that it was a key element and you do want talented people doing it. Yet there are other games that voice acting plays very little. In these cases, I see a flat fee would suffice.

I don't know how much they are getting paid now, but I assume it isn't that bad. What these people are saying is they want to be paid the big bucks. And all I'm saying is, why do they think their job is so much better then what other people put in?

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Cibressus    100
The thing about voice actors is thiers a million other people in the world that sound or can sound just like them. it takes no real skill. fire the bastards and hire someone who will do it for $200 less.

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Sandman    2210
Quote:
Original post by BobV
An A list actor can sell a picture. You know that if you have 'tom cruise' you will make at least X amount because of his fan base alone. In movie goers minds they think, hmm if this actor did this movie, then it must be good. Because of these facts, the demand is very high and they make special consessions to get these big names. In a TV series that is making a lot of money, it could have serious impacts to change up actors/voice actors, once the show becomes popular, these actors can begin bargin for higher wages.

You don't see people going out and buying Halo because they thought the guy who did the voice over was amazing. I'll even use a game that relies pretty heavy on voice acting for an example; KOTOR. That game wouldn't be nearly as good without the voices, but I didn't pay any attention to who did it. So if the lead programmer did the voice for all the wookies or 'tom cruise' did them would make little difference to me. Though, I will agree, that it was a key element and you do want talented people doing it. Yet there are other games that voice acting plays very little. In these cases, I see a flat fee would suffice.


I don't think that's necessarily true. Voice acting could be used to market a game, it just very rarely is. Even in games like GTA:VC where they have plenty of well known actors doing the voices, the game sold more on it's own merits and the merits of it's predecessors, rather than on the merits of the voice acting cast.

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monkey8751    388
I'm pretty sure the publishers aren't going to give them their demands. If they did they would piss off a bunch of developers who would now expect the same deal. I've been a programmer on 11 published games and not once have I received any royalty payments. These voice actors do about .01% of the work on the game and get paid $278 an hour and expect more.

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ScootA    270
When animation first appeared in its feature form (Walt Disney's "Snow White"), actors - and people in general - were skeptical of whether an animated character would be able to hold the attention and trigger emotion in the audience, and were unwilling to lend their voice and image.

Fast forward to- for instance- Pixar's Toy Story. Tom Hanks - possibly one of the highest paid actors - Tim Allen et al. Actors no longer scorn at animated features - in fact they clamour to be part of what are becoming the hottest movies in the cinematic calander (The Incredibles, Finding Nemo).

These are no longer animations: they are works of art.

I see a juxtaposition with the gaming market. Visual- (and even the elan of voice) actors do not see games as a suitable vehicle for the advancement of their careers, and vica-versa most development companies and gamers do not make a serious distinction between a product with virtually unknown voice talent, and one with a celebrity "cast" (I think we'll gloss over Mark Hamill's "appearances").

This is likely to change in the coming decades, as games overtake movies as the dominant entertainment medium. I have no doubt we will see "blockbuster" games (Half Life II was one of the first of these phenomenon) advertised on the street corner or television, with actors' names lavishly emblazoned, much as they are for films (animated or otherwise) today.

And eventually, there may come a time, when you walk into your local game-shop (possibly virtual), and see two new games, one with your favourite actor/actress (intentional mis-distinction), and the other without - and it may sway your choice...

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cignox1    735
Well, I think that good voices are important: I've just played the italian version of Half-Life 2 and most of the guys who gave the voices seemed to be foreigners, and speaked italian as I speak english (well, not really so bad)...:(
But I know that there are a lot of really good actors out there that would be happy to give the voice in a game for not too much $$$.
As I see the thing, producers know that nobody knows who wrote the multiplayer or the AI code, but there are many that know if a hollywood star worked on the game they're playing with, so if a programmer (or a level designer or what I know) wants to get more money, then why not replacing him with someone else? That is, The level designer of half-life 2 worked 10 times more than some of the actors involved, but could never ask to be paid as a hollywood star that gives the voice in a game.
I think that money should be spent where the game requires them, and then a good (even if unknown) actor would be what a game needs.
Do you imagine what would happen if suddently programmers began to have the same popularity of actors and then all the producers wanted to have 'John Carmack' written in the head of the credits section of their games?

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Ravuya    135
Wow, what a shame it would be to have the shitty phoned-in celebrity voice overs suddenly disappear from games.

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Riviera Kid    142
Quote:
Original post by cignox1
Do you imagine what would happen if suddently programmers began to have the same popularity of actors and then all the producers wanted to have 'John Carmack' written in the head of the credits section of their games?


i bet companies are constantly offering carmack tones of money to come work for them. Pretty much any game he programs, you can be sure it will look amazing.

And i think it boosts sales to have carmack work on your game.

also, vin diesel was amazing in escape from butcher bay.

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Amma    130
I understand the thoughts behind this strike.

Audio can be 50% of a game experience.

Games are usually far from that, which is caused simply by bad actors/underprioritized audio. The actors in those games are already getting their worth.

However, in games where the 50% mark is actually present, I do support the unions. -It's just that I've yet to hear a game that delivered 50% audio. When that happens, I think actors will have earned their roalities.

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Override    148
I believe that everyone that works on a game is as entitled to royalties as the voice actors are.

If everyone gets royalties it should be proportional to the amount of time spent on the project. This way programmers, designers and all would get what they deserve and it would be a lot more than the voice actors get.

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cignox1    735
Quote:

i bet companies are constantly offering carmack tones of money to come work for them. Pretty much any game he programs, you can be sure it will look amazing.

Yes, but because of technical reasons, not because players want him to make their games...
The presence of the voice of tom cruise wont make the game better. At least, I think so, but where I live we follow mostly american actors/actress, even if we hardly know their voices, being them replaced by very good italian actors. And that's why I know there are a lot of good and semi-unknown good actors out there: every american movie that comes in italy is translated and all the voices replace: those actors are so good that when sometimes I view that same movie in english I switch it to italian for that reason. The actor that translates, for example, Samuel L. Jackson is amazing, as for the one that translates Al Pacino or Tom Cruise or Jody Foster... And too often I see movies actors that simply cannot play, as Monica Bellucci (when in matrix 2 I heared her speaking italian, I wanted to go out of the cinema). The 'Doppiatori', as the actors that translate the movies are called are those actors I would like to hear in my games!

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Welshy    223
I think it totally depends on the amount of voice acting they've done, for example in something like Civ3, which has near enough no voice acting (if any?) which has sound bytes of the units being hit or attacking, which are used again and again, then they shouldnt really get royalties.

Whereas in the command and conquer series, the movie clips were essential to the storyline, therefore they do more for the game, therefore should stand more of a chance of getting royalties

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Talroth    3247
I would pay $15 more to get better voices in CSS, really, why would they hire a NUB or two, not even worth the 4 letters for noob. They're so annoying, and I usually try to insure the bot on my team dies before the round ends.

As far as them getting paid more, well, if they do a good enough job (those in Halflife2 did a good job) and they deserve SMALL royalties I'm sure.


Presonally, I would like to see everyone working on the game getting paid very little while they're working on it, and then get fairly good sized royalties for title sales.

At the very least, make sure the guys doing gameplay design get paid royalties. Maybe it will improve them over time after a few of em start hitting the unemployment lines to feed themselves.

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krikkit    792
I'd rather see us audio guys getting royalties more readily before voice actors. Some VA's do deserve it for providing memorable game experiences, but I'll guarantee you right now theres a LOT more blood, sweat and game-experience design going into flat-rate buyout music composition than into voice acting, and royalties are hard to come by anyway.

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kSquared    1356
Quote:
Original post by Talroth
Presonally, I would like to see everyone working on the game getting paid very little while they're working on it, and then get fairly good sized royalties for title sales.

I favor a model like that for most game development. That is, you should expect a minimal return on your time/career investment during the process of working on the game, and a huge payoff if the game is successful (and no payoff if the game flops). Under the current model, however, there's no incentive to produce a great game over one that's merely good. The people working on the game thus have no stake in it.

Since most people aren't willing to accept that kind of risk volatility, we get a lot of crappy games (Big Rigs, anyone?), some good ones, and a few rare gems that are great games.

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