Videogame Industry Is Harming Voice Actors, Union Claims
Published Jun 06, 2016As the videogame industry continues to eclipse the film world as one of the most profitable entertainment sectors, more and more actors are getting into the voice-over world. While it may sound fun to spend the day recording Call of Duty battle banter, however, the industry apparently comes with its share of workplace hazards.
According to the SAG-AFTRA union, videogame voice over sessions have caused extreme strains on actors, who have been pushed to record far more than a normal bit of dialogue.
David White, the union's national executive director, wrote a letter to Cal/OSHA [via The Hollywood Reporter] wherein he directly addressed some of the concerns about videogame hazards.
"Increasing numbers of voiceover actors are reporting that they are experiencing both short-term and/or long-term damage to their vocal cords, due to the intensity of the vocal demands put on to them by the employers," he said. "For up to four hours, actors are asked to perform not just voices, but noises, death screams, creature voices, combat yelling and other sounds, with so much force and explosive vibration, that they are causing internal damage to their vocal cords."
White explained that actors are experiencing physical problems that "include vocal nodules, cysts, polyps and, in some cases, cord hemorrhaging." In a separate notice from SAG-AFTRA, the union reported that actors are "losing their voices for up to six months, tasting blood during their session, fainting or nearly fainting, and [experiencing] damage resulting in a permanent change to vocal range."
The hope is that there will be a thorough investigation into the videogame industry's voiceover practices. The AFTRA Interactive Agreement expired in 2014, and the union has been negotiating changes to the industry ever since.