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SAG-AFTRA AND VOICE OVER

Los Angeles and National Voiceover Performers Committee Proposal
October 4, 2018, modified December 8, 2018

Summary:

Due to major technological advancements over the past two decades, the majority of the voiceover industry (as much as 75% or more, by some estimates) is non-union.

Voiceover work is increasingly being produced non-union and voiced by non-union performers, who along with their buyers have created a faster and easier business model, which is thriving.

Simply put, voiceover can be recorded by anyone, anywhere in the world.

The opportunities for SAG-AFTRA members working in voiceover areas has been steadily decreasing over the years and will continue to do so unless we take action now.

Voiceover performers live in an anonymous and atomized landscape, unlike the vast majority of our peers who work on camera. Reclaiming this work will require an approach that may feel uncomfortable for some; it is an approach that meets the industry where it is, rather than where we would like it to be.

The purpose of this proposal is to reclaim union voiceover by helping to bring both non-union buyers and voice actors into the mix and under the umbrella of SAG-AFTRA contracts.

In order to mitigate the erosion of union voiceover work, the Los Angeles Local Voiceover Performers Committee recommend an added way to bring non-union voice actors into our Union.

Our proposal is designed to modify the current payment plan for joining SAG-AFTRA and to make it easier for these performers to choose to join the union.

Currently, SAG-AFTRA offers two payment options for new members:
  • Full initiation fee payment plus current dues, or
  • A down payment plus five (5) equal monthly installments until the balance is paid in full after six months.
This proposal applies to New Joins who exclusively work in voiceover and our recommendation is that the $3,000 (or applicable) initiation fee be paid in equal increments over a three (3) to five (5) year period.

Our proposal also recognizes the need to concurrently organize non-union buyers; something we believe can best be done by granting an organizing waiver temporarily suspending Global Rule 1 for these voiceover new-joins during the five year initiation payment period.

This would allow voice actors to work for their existing clients while paying the initiation fee.

We feel this would encourage them to report their work to a union representative, who can then begin a process of education and organizing of the buyers in this space.

During the proposed three (3) to five (5) year joining period, the Los Angeles and National Voiceover Performers Committees and Voiceover Contracts Department, will work with agents, buyers, and talent throughout the country to help educate and proactively assist in converting non-union work.

Another important piece of this is to concurrently develop technology that will streamline the signatory and hiring process for union actors in the voiceover arena.

We believe this proposal enables the union to most effectively recapture an industry that has slipped away from us. This will allow us to organize in a way that recognizes and accepts the technological shifts that have occurred in the industry.

We will also be working with the necessary SAG-AFTRA departments to:
  • Streamline the online signatory process;
  • Educate Members, Agents and Non-Signatory Producers;
  • Make the hiring of union voiceover talent as fast and easy as it is to hire non-union;
  • Create a business model within the Union that consistently and continuously organizes non-union voiceover work.

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