Last Friday voice actors gathered together to start a strike against video game publishers, and one Ryerson actor is in the middle of it.
The strike is the result of 19 months of failed negotiation between the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), and publishers, after the previous labour contract expired.
“We need to stand up for our actors, and hopefully we can use our collective efforts to make a difference,” says Maxine Grossman, a voice actor in her second-year of the RTA program.
Some of the companies being striked against include Disney, Electronic Arts Productions, and Activision.
“I think having a dialogue is one of the most important things in any industry,” says Grossman. She wants her fellow actors to be respected, and supports SAG-AFTRA’s decision.
Some actors are saying that the video game industry is not providing enough compensation for their work. Other issues include poor on-set safety precautions and lack of transparency while hiring voice talent.
Grossman has done voice work in radio ads, audio dramas, and animation. She gives credit to Ryerson for some of those opportunities.
“Right now I am an actor trying to make money, so I would perform in a video game,” said Grossman, “I’ll be in anything that is creative, artistic, or trying to tell a narrative.”
Last year the video game industry made $23.5 billion in domestic revenue. The market for games is growing rapidly, and titles like Battlefield 1, and Call of Duty Black Ops 3 are doing as well as some blockbuster movies.
A lot of actors are still fans of games, and don’t want to leave the business. They do want to be treated fairly within it, and that is what they hope to achieve with SAG-AFTRA’s strike.