the voices in my head…

There’s been a lot of talk out there about voice actors getting some more money from working on games. Now we could argue all day about whether this is a good move for the industry and the consumers, but I want to address two questions that have popped up among all this. Are voice actors greedy and can’t anyone right off the street do this stuff?

The answer is no and hell no.

Respectively.

People get antsy over the $695 for fours hours of work. That does seem like a lot until you realize that most of these folks get maybe 3 or 4 jobs a year. Very few of them are making any kind of living off this, no one is padding the mansion with hundred dollar bills. They just want some more money per session so maybe they get to not work that crappy second job they have to pay the bills.

And it’s not like their talents aren’t important. I mean how awesome is Hank Azaria on the Simpsons. Can you do Apu, Moe, Chief Wiggum, Comic Book Guy, Cletus, etc.? How iconic is James Earl Jones voice in Star Wars? Can the Joker get any creepier when Mark Hamill is doing his voice?

Now how many bad dubs have you laughed at in movies and games? Don’t you want it to get better? Then you have to pay so the good voice talent won’t be tempted into making that second job permanent.

That said, I’m not convinced this was a good move for the industry as a whole. I’m inclined to agree with the Grumpy Gamer that it pushes everything closer to Hollywood style – less risk taken because more money is involved. I just don’t want the voice actors villified for trying to get a little more credit when they have the power to do so.

About dan

designer, gamer, drinker
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2 Responses to the voices in my head…

  1. Johnny Pi says:

    I already responded to a comment on my site concerning the rate of pay to voice actors. But I like to throw my thoughts around.

    Voice actors are perfectly justified in seeking what they think is fair compensation for the kind of work they do. And if they put some pressure on the industry to gain leverage in negotiation, well, yeah, that is exactly the right way to do business.

    Some people seem to be of a mind that this will “make games worse” because it will start to make business THE bottom-line. Well, two things: 1) Business IS the bottom line. It sucks, I wish it weren’t, but it is. 2) This does not determine at all whether games get better or worse. Designers and developers make games better. Gamers demanding more innovations, less sexism, straighter lines or whatever else they want will make games better.

    This agreement just ensures that there will be professional voice actors available when wanted, and that, for a while, all the ducks are in a row concerning what their paychecks will look like.

    But the amount they get paid is still a lot of money. I know that the jobs in their line of work are scarce and they have to take other jobs to pay the rent and so on. Boo hoo. Speaking as someone whose creative output is worth exactly zero dollars and zero cents, my sympathy runs into the negative. That really is the price for choosing art over counterfeiting. The only thing I admire is that they are actively trying to change their lot. Sucks they get so much grief.

    And yeah, bad dubs are just godawful. Of course, professionals aren’t always the best bet, either. I can’t even put up with the English-dubbed Princess Mononoke. What accent was Billy Bob Thornton trying to do? With foreign films I almost always prefer to go with subtitles.

    As for Hollywoodization of the games industry . . . I won’t care very much once we make the video game-creation equivalent of the Super 8 camera. Or at least the camcorder. Then indie, here I come.

  2. dark03 says:

    I personally HATE when video games don’t give yo the option of picking the seiyuu voices along with the english ones. First of all I’m a big fan of some seiyuu and will often times buy the game if I can listen to my favorite seiyuu’s voice, not some american wannabe. The butchering is another BIG deal, so don’t get me started, such as cutting the characters and plot from Naruto: Ninja Council 3.

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