Death screams are destroying video game actors' voices

'For up to four hours, actors are asked to perform not just voices, but noises, death screams.'
'For up to four hours, actors are asked to perform not just voices, but noises, death screams.'

The union representing video game voice actors has called upon California's Division of Occupational Safety and Health to investigate the damage stressful voice acting sessions can do to actors.

In an open letter to OSHA regional manager Hassan Adan, SAG-AFTRA executive director David White wrote that "voiceover actors are being asked to perform vocal sounds that go way beyond a safe pitch zone."

"For up to four hours, actors are asked to perform not just voices, but noises, death screams, creature voices, combat yelling and other sounds, with so much force and explosive vibration, that they are causing internal damage to their vocal cords."

White claimed that physiological effects included "vocal nodules, cysts, polyps and, in some cases, cord haemorrhaging," with longer-term effects including "career-ending alteration of vocal quality or vocal cord paralysis."

He noted that employers could prevent such damage, but rather "continue to push actors in a vocally stressful session, even though there are audible signs of vocal distress."

"In fact, we have had reports from members that some employers are offering special numbing candies so that the actors can power through the session without feeling the damage they are doing to their vocal chords."

White concludes his letter by requesting game studios be investigated under OSHA legislation on workplace hazards and conditions, and that "vocally stressful sessions" be limited in length.

SAG-AFTRA voted to strike late last year over these issues and more, but the strike has yet to materialise.

- gameplanet.co.nz

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