This is why I support a SAG-AFTRA strike authorization for video games — and it isn’t about money.
Wil Wheaton
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I agree that Mr. Wheaton should have explained the request for residuals better. However, there is a good reason that voice actors (for one) deserve residuals in a way that certain other roles don’t.

Successful actors & voice actors (and for that matter certain writers, visual artists, composers, etc.) work in a profession where the more successful they are, the more at risk they are for working themselves out of a job. Sure, for a while, having success might be great — maybe people like your work in one game so a few more games clamor to hire you. But there are only so many voices an actor can do, and pretty soon, the market is oversaturated with your voice work. And now people don’t want to hire you because it’s going to sound too much like the last thing you did.

The same is true even in something as mundane as commercials. Wouldn’t it be a bit weird if you saw the same person hawking products in one commercial after the next, first as the “on the go executive”, then the “loving stay-at-home Mom”, then as the “party girl going out for a night on the town?”

Programmers do not deserve to work 60+ hour weeks. There is no question that they deserve better hours and/or some equity for the work they do. But insane hours aside, they do not program themselves out of a job. If they are remarkably talented, their talents will be just as applicable from one company to the next.

As for the comparison to other fields like telemarketing, working 8 hrs a day for $9/hr in that condition sounds awful. The sad fact though is that it is considered unskilled labor. Voice actors study and train to do what they do. And they fight and claw for the jobs they get. For every voice actor earning residuals on a gig that pays them, there are probably dozens who didn’t get the job in the first place. And that same successful voice actor probably spent time auditioning and not getting jobs to get there.