We are four VO Actors:

Jenn: FemShep - Mass Effect, Naomi Hunter - Metal Gear and Rosalind Lutece from Bioshock

Phil: Hermes - Futurama, Samurai Jack, Vamp - Metal Gear

Keythe: Kellogg - Fallout 4, Thane - Mass Effect 2 and 3

Ray Chase: Noctis - FFXV, Etrigan - Justice League Dark


Twitter: https://twitter.com/GamePerfMatters/status/800765563194654720

Why this matters to fans

Why this matters to developers

Why this matters to non union actors

Why this matters to union actors

Game Performance Matters

Corporate greed has put the brakes on some of your favorite games, hurting everybody on the team, help us tell them that performance matters to you!

EDIT: Sorry everyone, we have to go, we're going to go do this again! We want to be really open and transparent, unlike the GameCorps that we are striking against. So please check out the Indie Contract and talk to us about it next time!

We love you all!

thanks to /u/maddking as our moderator

Comments: 1959 • Responses: 45  • Date: 

alexweitzman638 karma

Hey, guys! Some of my favorite people in this AMA.

Figured I'd ask a multi-part question that some of the other folks might not think to ask. The law firm representing the struck companies have responded to all three of the picket events (EA, WB, Insomniac) by repeating that SAG-AFTRA leadership has refused to bring their proposed contract to the actors for a vote.

  1. Do you have a response to their claim?
  2. Did you ALREADY respond to it, given that they've made this statement three times after each picket?
  3. If yes to #2, did they ever respond to your counterargument?

gameperfmatters895 karma

PL: Great question. The membership was very clear when they voted at more than 96% for a strike that they were interested in a secondary payment structure. That was not in the GameCorps proposed contract so it made no sense to go back to the membership.

JH: We'll go back to them, when we have something to go back to them with. We're dealing with the following mindset: the same mindset that's attacking much of middle class America, as an executive said to one of our people, "I'm not giving them a bonus, that comes out of my bonus."

adeptusraven355 karma

So great of you all to do this! I'm certainly behind the #performancematters movement, and wish you all the best of luck there.

So the strike has caused a bit of a stir throughout the US as it is, since there hasn't been a strike since the writer's guild took a stand. Is the strike causing a lot more waves around the Los Angeles area where most of these larger games get made? And is there a way people can support their SAG-AFTRA chapter in this movement in other cities? I'm in Seattle for example, where there's also a ton of game voice work, though I think most of the companies have been working with their VO talent well.

I'd love to ask for VO advice as well as an upcoming VO actor, but that's a whole other can of worms!

gameperfmatters259 karma

PL: One, don't take struck work, two, login to SAGAFTA and gameperformancematters.com and signal boost the messages. KF: We're doing a virtual picket later on this week, keep an eye out JH: And go to iwanttobeavoiceactor.com and partake of the insane generosity of Dee Baker

Barley013333 karma

What do you think is the hardest part of voice acting in a video game? Is auditioning for a game any different from auditioning in a voice over role in a to commercial tv show, film etc?

gameperfmatters693 karma

JH: It's acting on steroids and everything is cold reading.

RC: The lack of transparency. What the character's name is. What the tone of the game is. Who am I saying this to? It's the details that make a performance really land and give you a real enjoyment of the game. And right now, for monetary reasons, we're being kept in the dark.

stygarfield261 karma

Do you play the games that you voice?

What is your favorite game?

Any super duper secret lines that may never be heard?

gameperfmatters362 karma

RC: Yes, I play all of them, it's the best thing in the world. New Vegas is my fav. Noctis: I love listening to Afrojack!

KF: Yes, a little, I'm playing rise of the Tomb Raider and I can't wait to chase myself. Tomb Raider. Cursing as Thane was always fun.

JH: I suck at games. My fav game is the one I'm doing this afternoon, but if I told you, I'd have to kill you. If I told you I'd have to kill you

PL: Yes I play. MLB: The Show. Jen won't let me say a line.

Alfie_13181 karma

Phil LaMarr, I'm such a big fan of your work on Futurama. I loved every bit of that show.

What is your favourite line as Hermes? and How did you end up on futurama?

gameperfmatters259 karma

PL: Fav line: I love the bureaucrat song. And I got in to Futurama by auditioning for Matt Groening. When I didn't wet myself, I got the job.

BVB_Lover110 karma

This question is for Mrs. Hale and Mr. Farley. How did it feel to work with each other?

gameperfmatters519 karma

Both: we didn't. We work alone in games.

KF: Jen and I were at a meeting of actors talking about what we wanted to see in the video game contract. And after, I walked up to her and said, "you don't know me, but we made out in a video game."

JH: laughs hysterically

schalakitty97 karma

First of all, thank you so much for doing this! I've been following news of the discussions and strikes so it's great to hear directly from those on the front lines, so to speak.

So we know which companies you are striking against, but on a more positive flipside, which video game studios do you feel treat voice actors the best? I know this is something that might vary from project to project even within the same studio, but overall, which companies do you really enjoy working for? I'd love to know who is on the side of proving that #PerformanceMatters.

gameperfmatters150 karma

JH: There are SO MANY we love to work with, it's mind boggling. We really only have an issue with the culture of exploitation practiced by the corporate 11 we are striking against. The people we work with are great! It's their corporate overlords and their lawyer lackeys.

Strikes1256 karma

As a Entrepreneur that's started an Indie Studio, and looking into future VO needs; what's the baseline incentive and payment structure for VO, and/or other items that we (new Indie Studios) should consider when hiring Voice Talent? We don't really have anyone to ask, so I'm hoping straight to the source might be the best place to start! Thanks for the AMA! (Major fan personally)

gameperfmatters70 karma

PL: Super happy you asked! One of the things that's huge is that you can currently get A-LEVEL UNION acting talent under the new Indie Budget Contract. And if you meet the budget criteria and agree to the secondary payment structure, it's really easy.

JH: And keep in mind that the secondary payment structure only kicks in if the game is a big hit. Which we are happy to help you do! And in kind with that, I have to leave to go work on one of those contracts right now!

RC: I'd just like to add that you are paying the same rate that you would for non-union performer, but you have access to the best of the best.

gameperfmatters48 karma

KF: This is the indie contract link just click on agreements: https://www.sagaftra.org/production-center/interactive/documents

Frajer54 karma

Phil - what was it like doing Pee Wee Herman?

gameperfmatters117 karma

KF: Please say sexy.

PL: No. Just no. It was great, it's rare that you get to work with somebody who actually qualifies as a genius. The only bad part was people thought I was the original Cowboy Curtis and I was afraid Lawrence Fishburne would kick my ass.

frostmagic46 karma

It's fantastic to see an AmA and I'm gonna ask Jennifer a question.

On an unrelated note from the union strike, I asked in dallas if you'd come to critical role. With Mercer's glorious mind do you think you might have a chance to make it in now?

And then onto the strike, What are you all going to do if the companies DON'T cave because they find talent elsewhere? It's there somewhere ya know? Everyone wants to be discovered, it's human nature.

gameperfmatters94 karma

JH: first of all, I am stalking Matt Mercer. He will either put me in jail or on the show. As for the second half, I am moved by the level of unity in the community of actors union and non union and I'm not worried. We are fighting this fight so that all actors will have a future.

99SoulsUp42 karma


I am a big fan of all of you and your work and I'm happy to see that the Union is striking to speak out for voice over actors. Have you felt like you have been getting significant support from Union members who don't primarily do voice over?

As for a more light-hearted question, besides Dee Baker and Frank Welker, which LA voice actor can make the best sound effects with their voice?

Thanks for taking the time to raise discussion about important issues in VO and doing this AMA!

gameperfmatters53 karma

PL: Yes, just this week Brandon Routh tweeted us out, Clancy Brown was on the strike line, and Jason George from Grey's Anatomy showed up to march around and yell.

JH: Fred Tatasciore is another super secret weapon when it comes to making sounds

FrakkinPhoenix32 karma

What can I do as a fan to support you guys?

gameperfmatters86 karma

JH: There is a list of companies that we are striking on gameperformancematters.com, BE DISCERNING about which games you buy this Holiday season. And support indie games!!!

phonemonkey66931 karma

Phil: When playing Vamp, who survives a bullet to the head, did you find yourself thinking back to your part in Pulp Fiction? Every time I see the scene where Marvin gets shot, since MGS2, I picture him getting up and saying "I can't die twice."

gameperfmatters46 karma

PL: laughs That's funny. Actually, no, because it's my policy to never be there when my characters are shot in the head.

KF: We do so many deaths in a session and head shot is always one of them. We almost never know how we die. Kellogg got shot around 95 times right?

/u/maddking: I shot you with a missile.

Flexhead28 karma


gameperfmatters60 karma

PL: Blizzard used to be non-union, but ever since they went union they have played by the union rules and they recognize that they are part of the entertainment industry. And the union has a good relationship with them.

tcarlini23 karma

I wanted to ask about the insurance coverage of a Voice Actor. I been hearing about voice injuries in the voice acting world for a few years mostly involving the infamous Dragon Ball Z. I want to ask how often can a voice injury can happen and how well can the insurance cover it or is it pay out of pocket?

gameperfmatters47 karma

KF: You can injure yourself every day.

RC: You can never know what you're going to do, so there's no way to prepare for a day because of the lack of transparency.

JH: Part of why we're addressing what VO actors are paid is so they can make enough to have decent health insurance. However, an injury can knock a VO actor out of work potentially for days, weeks or months and there is no disability insurance in place for that.

JordanShepard21 karma

Hello there, I think voice acting is very important in video games. Is there a way to support your movement besides tweeting about #performancematters? And does the location of the supporter matter? I'm from outside the US, but I play the games in English so you guys matter to me. A lot. You're basically my English-teachers :P.

gameperfmatters18 karma

All: Awwwwww. And well written. Thank you!

nameless56721 karma

Miss Hale, I love your work! What was your favorite part of voicing Rosalind Lutece? And how does voicing a game character differ from voicing an animated character (as I'm aware you're also the current voice of Cinderella in Disney)?

gameperfmatters39 karma

JH: My fav part of voicing Rosalind was EVERYTHING. In an animated session you share the workload with several other people throughout the session. A game session is a four hour-1 person show. And you have 10 to 20 times more lines. I've had up to 600 lines in a game session and we usually work out of sequence. Nothing follows a particular storyline. Everything is out of sequence.

PL: I find it challenging because so much of the acting is out of context. In an animated show, you know the entire story and what your character is doing every step of the way (and you have drawings). In video games, you will have hours of lines where you have to completely create an emotional context for what you are saying out of whole cloth so that each response line sounds different.

stereotypicat19 karma


So excited to see all of you in one AMA! Ms Hale, you should know that FemShep/Mass Effect helped me through a really rough time in my life and your performance of FemShep continues to be one of my favorite performances I've ever had the pleasure of seeing.

I was relatively unaware of the SAG-AFTRA contract issues/strike until a few months ago. Since then I've tried to pay as good attention as I can. I was wondering, since you guys have experience in games and TV/Film voice acting, how Hollywood treats voice actors. Are the contracts there something that video games should follow? If not, how would they differ? And finally, what can I do as a fan of video games to help you guys get your fair deals? I want to see great games continue to be made and I want the actors to be as excited about them as I am!

Thanks a lot, y'all, and keep up the awesome work.

gameperfmatters23 karma

JH: First of all, thank you. That moves me so much. To support us, think about where your game dollars go when you're out this holiday season, and support the other awesome game companies out there. Feel free to call the corporate 11 and tell them what you think!

Janube17 karma

Thanks so much for all you do!

What would you say to people who constantly opine that unions are the worst thing since sliced bread?

Do you think in general, our country is headed for a place with fewer unions and fewer workers' rights?

Also for Phil: are you reprising your role for the conclusion to Samurai Jack that's coming out? How do you feel about that?

gameperfmatters39 karma

PL: Yes, we are working on the new eps of Samurai Jack and they look amazing...

JH: The issue is not unions, the issue is parity, equity and opportunity. When we focus on ideologies, we lose sight of the human beings involved. The question is not is are the labels working? (ie - Union, non-Union), the question are the PEOPLE involved looking at the resources we have, and distributing them between workers and executives in a way that is equitable and SUSTAINABLE? The current model has most corporations honestly, and their executives sucking the life out of the people they hire, and as a consequence out of the very consumers they need.

KF: Sliced bread is awesome.

shadowstormer17 karma

I know it varies between person and agent/agency, but what is the usual process of actually getting a voice actor through an agent up to actually getting the actor into the booth?

Also how often do you guys laugh at the lines you are provided with?

gameperfmatters30 karma

PL: So I think you're asking how to voice actors get jobs: The creators make lists of characters that they want to cast.

KF: They send that to someone like me who's a casting director.

PL: And then the casting directors submit them to agencies. The agencies respond with auditions by actors who they think would be good for the parts.

KF: And the casting director sits on his/her couch and goes through all of those auditions (about 100-150 per role). Whittle it down to about 10... That goes back to the client, who usually makes the final choice.

bluegamingrabbit16 karma


Thank you for taking the time to do this. I have a question for you:

I am currently in the process of trying to gather as much information about the strike as possible -- what both sides have said about it, etc., as I've decided to write the game companies a letter and tell them that I think performance matters (Ms. Hale, our paths crossed on Twitter, and you inspired me to do this).

Do you have any recommendations in particular as to where to look, and also, if possible, what key points I should pay particular attention to? I'm a gamer from Europe whose first language is not English, and I have to admit, it's starting to become difficult to keep up with all the details.

Thank you very much in advance, and good luck!

gameperfmatters11 karma

RC: you can check out all of the links to the gameperformancematters.com site up top. Thanks so much!

lost_in_life_3415 karma

Who is your favorite FemShep romance choice?

gameperfmatters57 karma

JH: All of them KF: Oh, C'mon Jen I'm sitting right here...

99SoulsUp32 karma

Thane is the coolest

gameperfmatters36 karma

KF: Blush

urdnotkrogan14 karma

Did any of you ever experience a breaking point, wherein you felt as though the industry fellas really didn't respect you at all?

Also, this one's for Ray; I'm still writing those Versus XIII fanfics (@doofenshmertz, remember?), any of them made it through the verified filter on your Twitter feed?

gameperfmatters29 karma

JH: What time is it? Yeah.

PL: In my career? In the negotiations, we offered them what they asked for. An upfront payment structure, provided they would provide an option for a secondary payment structure.

KF: And I thought we had cracked the nut, and provided an elegant solution to avoid a strike.

PL: Sadly, they refused to even acknowledge our proposal.

jabanobotha13 karma

Phil: how would you like Samurai Jack to end?

gameperfmatters32 karma

PL: I want him to get back to the past, 'cause that's what the song says.

/u/maddking: he's singing now...

MrMimicMonster13 karma

My question might be just paranoia but UbiSoft just announced they were going to have "less narrative" in a game series that is nothing but narrative do you think that's them trying to a spin on the Voice actors' strike? #performancematters

gameperfmatters29 karma

JH: I doubt it. They're known for pushing creative boundaries and they're an awesome group of people.

fuzzydrawings13 karma

Is there a character or franchise you would love to voice?

I recently watched "In a World...". Have you seen it? What are your thoughts on the film, it's accuracy, and how it portrayed the voice over/acting profession?

Also, Jennifer Hale, I adored your work on Mass Effect. FemShep is the best Shep!!!

gameperfmatters16 karma

KF: In a world is pretty great. It's decently accurate. With a lot of great VO cameos in there.

Scamperillium9 karma

This is to Phil LaMarr:

Do you miss MADTV? What were your favorite skits off of the show?

gameperfmatters17 karma

PL: It was great at the time, but that was 20 years ago. And my favorite was the UPS guy.

gameperfmatters11 karma

KF: I had fun making the SPY vs SPY cartoons for that show.

adeptusraven9 karma

I'm also really interested if there's any general movement for diversity in game VO acting? I know L.A has plenty of upcoming talent, but maybe it'd somehow encourage actors/actresses from new and varied backgrounds to participate?

gameperfmatters24 karma

/u/maddking: Hey, I'm an asian american VO actor and I would say absolutely. I've been able to play Russian gangsters, English knights and everything in between. It's changing and growing. All: yup

dontfuckingdothat7 karma

Hello everyone! First of all, I love you guys! You're great. Jennifer, you provided just enough strength and spitefulness in your voice acting to make me love everything about ME!

I did have a quick question, and this is VERY important because I can't find anything about this online anywhere and I was arguing in the comments section on Youtube with someone about this... but!!!

Jennifer Hale, did you do the voiceover for MasterChef US Season 1???

This might be the only opportunity I EVER get to ask you this directly! Thank you!!!

Secondly, Keythe, thank you for being my cool space hubby! Thane Krios was my ride or die... and well... we all know what happened BUT I was so conflicted and torn between Thane and Kaiden, and your voice acting made me choose you!

I will always be a huge fan, Mass Effect changed my life and your dynamic careers in the gaming and all other things are amazing. Thank you again!

-Pepper Shepard

Edit and PS: Keythe, I seriously got freaked the hell out in Fallout 4 when you made Nick Valentine say "I should've killed you when I had the chance." I literally scrambled on the couch and got ready for combat.

gameperfmatters9 karma

/u/maddking - and sadly you missed Jen by 15 mins.

All: awww, that's so sad!

KF: You want me to try to call her? And thanks, that's lovely.

KouNurasaka6 karma

Jennifer Hale, you do realizes FemShep is the only Shepard that matters, right? :)

Also, I cannot wait for FFXV. I mean, its only been 10 years, so no biggie!

gameperfmatters7 karma

RC: What is... is this jeopardy? Me too! I can't wait to play it.

spaten15 karma

Who of all of your voice characters would throw the best party?

gameperfmatters10 karma

KF: Have you seen Thane dance?

PL: Bolby from Jimm Neutron.

KF: Deep cut.

RC: Noctis throws the best parties erryday.

jonseitz1144 karma

Hello everyone :) I wanted to ask to questions. What was your favorite experience working on a video game? And when do you think the strike will end? P.S: Send this message to those corporate naive fools; #PerformanceMatters it always has, look at the Mass Effect trilogy and Metal Gear Solid.

gameperfmatters10 karma

KF: It can end this afternoon, it can end now!

JH: If the corporate 11 would come to the table and negotiate in good faith, it could end immediately. We're so grateful to you guys, please CALL them and let them know how you feel.

GenericAnimator4 karma

Question for Mr. LaMarr, was it ever jarring to go from such a silly character like Hermes to an uber serious one like Samurai Jack?

gameperfmatters10 karma

PL: No, not really. Because they are both really good shows with great creators behind them, so the process of working on them was remarkably similar.

gameperfmatters7 karma

PL: It's jarring to go from Futurama or Samurai Jack to some crappy show (which I've done).

Barley0133 karma

My question is for Keythe Farley. Did you play any of the Mass effect games? If you did which was your favourite game and do you have a favourite scene?

gameperfmatters8 karma

KF: I had two small children when ME came out, so I wasn't playing much of anything. But I did keep up with gameplay videos on YouTube so I could be conversant about the game. It's one I'm looking forward to going back to.

Gamecat933 karma

Hey, guys, I have these questions as well. My question is, do you think companies would listen to your needs for contract reform if we showed them how fans love you guys? Also, were there any moments when recording for anything where you just couldn't keep a straight face and got a bad case of the giggles?

gameperfmatters7 karma

All: Yes. go to gameperformancematters.com and check out the corporate 11. And keep that in mind when you're spending your dollars.

re: giggles

KF: I'm lucky I can work with all the giggling I do.

broodwyn2 karma

How does it feel to play one of the most potentially critical roles in various games, while environments and sound give a scene its needed feeling and setting, how does it feel to be the "human" element to a game, the people we interact with and who we force friendships and connections to that can make us feel a vast array of emotions?

Granted there are ample games what can make us feel without the need of dialog but there are some games that remind us we're human

gameperfmatters5 karma

JH: I am always clear that we are the ink in the pen. The project doesn't land without the ink, but it would never be there without the massive machinery of the pen behind it. And I am eternally grateful to be a part of that.

KF: It's our job as actors to take the words on the page to the audience with clarity, precision and emotion.

klamonic11 karma

If a movie was made about your lives, what actor would you want to potray you?

gameperfmatters3 karma

RC: Uh, me. I think Ray Chase would give an honest searing portrayal of the young Ray Chase.

PL: Well I'm unable to play my own age so. Denzel.

KF: I'd like to see Jeff Goldblum try.

B0sz1 karma

Hi, Nice of you to do this! It's my dream to become a VO and I have some questions for you.

  1. Do you just wing character voices or do you get guidelines for what the voice should sound like?

    1. What tips do you have for An aspiring Voice actor?

Thanks again!

gameperfmatters5 karma

all: check out the above link about Dee Bradley's site.

Iamspeedy361 karma

Phil LaMarr, will Futurama ever return?

gameperfmatters9 karma

PL: Yes, in the year 3000. Seriously, there's something coming soon that might involve many futurama actors. Keep an eye out...