Video Game Voice Over Actors Stage On-Ground and Virtual Picket

Since the strike announcement of SAG-AFTRA members against video game producers last October 21st over disagreements on the benefits of video game voice actors, video game voice actors, members and non-members alike, have called out producers to consider the demands of the union, both online and offline.

Hashtag #PerformanceMatters on Twitter marks the call to arms by SAG-AFTRA members and their supporters in the hopes that this virtual campaign will get the attention of the producers and compel them back to the negotiating table.

But this hashtag took on a controversial turn when North Nolan, considered a royalty in the video game voice over industry, finally spoke about the trending #PerformanceMatters on his acceptance speech for Best Performance at The Games Awards last December 1st.

I hear a lot of talk about Performance Matters – and it does. The performance of every designer, every programmer, every artist, every hard working, talented person at that office not only Naughty Dog, but all the developers that I’ve worked with, but Naughty Dog in particular because I’ve been with them for so long. That performance is so important. They are so talented. They are so hard working, and their performance matters more than mine. That’s important to understand in this day and age, with all the talk going back and forth. Because without their performance, my performance would not only not matter, it wouldn’t exist.


Some took this as a slight to the ongoing voice over strike, with North Nolan siding with game producers and developers, others though viewed it more positively – that all performance matters and that actors, writers and developers should unite and work together to create great games.

The union also staged pickets in three of the industry’s top video game producers. October 24th at Electronics Arts, November 3rd Warner Bros. and finally last November 17th at Insomniac Games which drew 400 plus protesters.

“Our greatest strength is our unity and we look forward to you joining us on the picket line,” said in a message to its members as they called for an on-ground and virtual picket.

Meanwhile, the actor’s union gains support from other unions from the country and across the globe. SAG-AFTRA is now joined by its Canadian counterpart ACTRA, America’s Actor’s Equity Association, and unions in United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, directing their members not to accept or perform work with stuck companies.

SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris said, “The stalwart solidarity of our allied unions from around the world is part of what makes SAG-AFTRA so difficult to fight.”

Rana King

Rana King has presented marketing, sales, and writing seminars around the globe. She is also experienced in business-to-business copywriting and technical writing. She is also an accomplished voice actor with regular clients from around the globe.

  • Rhett Kennedy

    That’s a good point you made, and duly noted. In my interpretation I think he was trying to be a peace maker and trying to call for a sort of mutual respect. I can see however when passions are high some may have interpreted his stance as taking sides against voice actors. He seems like a nice guy though. I guess there is the old adage that saying less is better than more. But alas, artsy folks can be rather vocal at times. Communication is their lock stock and trade and may not always be easy to hold back 😉

  • It seemed pretty clear he didn’t want to take sides, which is why there was all the hubub. The difference with voice actors is they are not working for the corporation making the game, like the employees aka game designers and artists. The voice actors don’t have all of the financial benefits that goes with that, hence the strike and the lack of banding together.

  • Rhett Kennedy

    There is a lot to take away from his statement. I think (or at least hope) that he was trying to say that it’s the whole effort that makes the difference. The video game designers and artists are ground to a nub also during the process of creation. All of the artists, actors, designers, story creators should band together on this. The voice actors plight is just one segment being taken advantage of by greedy companies. Perhaps in a longer statement or conversation, he could has said it better, and maybe someday he will.

  • The same can be said, that an actors performance wouldn’t matter if those creating the vehicle for that acting didn’t exist or matter. I do think that Nolan was not embracing the struggle of other actors… possibly because he’s been blessed in his own career and hasn’t had the same issues…