If you’ve been following the recent voice actors strike, chances are, you’re aware of SAG-AFTRA’s list of demands. One of the issues that the union is currently trying to tackle is that of working conditions for voice actors, including the splitting of more challenging recording sessions into two alongside asking for information about their roles in advance.
Speaking to CBC Canada, Metal Gear Solid voice actor David Hayter said that sometimes, the most intense recording sessions are completed in “one horrific day.” Even if he doesn’t mind “facing the pain,” it comes with its consequences. “One time, I actually threw up on the mic because I had to make a bunch of vomiting sounds in a row,” he recalled.
Elias Toufexis, who is known for his role as Adam Jensen in the Deus Ex series, says that video game voice recording is significantly different than working on animated films or TV series. For instance, he explains, “If the character’s throwing something, you have to make a sound for throwing something a short distance, a long distance and a really long distance.” Voice actors may also be required to say the same lines in several different tones depending on the game. By the end of such sessions, “your voice is dead.”
Mass Effect‘s Commander Shepard voice actress, Jennifer Hale, recalled losing her voice about a week after one recording session. “I’ve got a friend right now who’s undergoing [vocal] surgery and will not be able to work for months,” she said.
As for publishers who say video game voice actors aren’t significant, Hale and Hayter disagree. “I get tweet after tweet of fans saying, ‘I got this game because you were in it,'” revealed Hale.
Hayter has had similar experiences. “I’ve had grown men burst into tears upon meeting me, which indicates there’s some sort of entertainment impact occurring there,” he explained.
For more on the strike, check out our previous coverage.