GTA IV Actor Complains About His Salary After Game's Success; So Why Did He Take The Job?

from the jealousy-isn't-a-business-model dept

We've already written about the rather ridiculous campaign by actors to make sure they get a cut of every time their work is used. As we pointed out, the various entertainment companies have no one to blame but themselves for this state of affairs -- as they're the ones who have made the same claim in pushing to get paid for every use of their content. However, the more people all demanding their slice of the pie, the more difficult it gets for these companies to really embrace new business models. Now, we have the NY Times playing along with the actors claims, presenting an absolutely ridiculous and extreme "example." It takes on the cause of the voice talent performing as the lead character in Grand Theft Auto IV, Niko. The actor in question made $100,000 for his voice work and motion capture work, which took parts of 15 months. That seems like a rather reasonable fee -- and, clearly, it was reasonable to Michael Hollick, or else he wouldn't have taken the job. And, of course, if he demanded more, it's likely that Rockstar would have moved on and found another perfectly capable and willing actor to do the work for $100,000.

Yet, thanks to news reports that note that the game has raked in $600 million, Hollick is being put forth as an example of those poor actors not getting "their cut" of work they do in video games. This is after-the-fact arguing. Hollick had a deal that was worthwhile. It's only after the fact, based on the lofty sales numbers being bandied about that it makes for a good "story" to suggest that he was somehow underpaid. It's surprising that the NY Times would even play up that side of the story when even Hollick himself admits that the $1,050 per day fee he received was 50% higher than the union's negotiated rate. In other words, he was paid a premium for the work, making over $1,000/day (hardly a pauper's salary), got a ton of publicity for his work in the role... and only after the fact complains about the salary based on the overall revenue the game brought in, and the NY Times puts out an article with a headline suggesting he was underpaid.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger, May 22nd, 2008 @ 8:29am

    I heard that yesterday

    on attack of the show. They said the same thing I said. "well, that should have been in his contract."

    What about all the other actors in that game? How about the music composer, lighting specialist, 3D choreographer, the person who made Niko's face? How about recouping that 20mil that went into that game in the first place? After everyone gets their cut there is no profit.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2008 @ 8:37am

    there goes his next job!

    greed has no bounds....

     

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  3.  
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    Jandy, May 22nd, 2008 @ 8:37am

    Yeah, if he'd wanted a cut of the profits, he should've negotiated that earlier. It's not as though the game was a surprise hit or anything. Everyone knew it was going to set sales records pretty much as soon as it was announced. It's a bit late to be going, oh, it made tons of money and I want some.

     

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  4.  
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    Joel Coehoorn, May 22nd, 2008 @ 8:42am

    Risk/Reward

    It's a classic risk/reward scenario. He would still have been paid $100,000 even if the game ended up in the same situation as Duke Nukem Forever. So he chose the low-risk, low-reward option. If he wanted a piece of the larger pie he should have also taken a portion of the risk, perhaps by doing the up-front work for free.

     

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    Asa, May 22nd, 2008 @ 8:53am

    If he deservers more

    How about the guys who did all the fight design and choreo? What about the vehicle physics programmers? These are people more important, and directly responsible for the game's success. "Niko" could have been played by anyone and no one would have cared. Ruin the game controls and GTA IV takes a hit.

    I'm sure he did a very good job, but San Andreas was a hit despite pretty weak voice acting.

     

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    Evil Mike, May 22nd, 2008 @ 8:55am

    $1000 a day?!?!!?

    Wish I made $1000 a day for 15 months...

    Hell, I wish I made $1000 a day for one month.

     

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  7.  
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    Nate, May 22nd, 2008 @ 8:57am

    He is stupid to be going on the attack like this. It is going to make him very unappealing to other studios looking for voice work. Was his contract based on how the games sales did? NO. So guess what, you don't get any different amount of money if the game did poorly or it did fantastic. The latter is this case, obviously. But, it is what it is. And like the other posters said, this game was going to break sales records, everyone knew it. If this guy had a good manager, the manager would have negotiated some deal that got him some points or some bonus if sales were good. Then again, the developer would probably just hired someone else to do the job for $100,000.

    http://www.custompcmax.com

     

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  8.  
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    Old Guy, May 22nd, 2008 @ 9:02am

    Gettin a cut

    Jack Nicholson was smart enough to take a little less upfront and get a cut of ALL the sales related to the Batman movie. He made a lot more money, seems that some actors get it.

     

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    Bill Pytlovany, May 22nd, 2008 @ 9:08am

    Reminds me of the AOL Voice guy

    Reminds me of Elwoord Edwards who did You've Got Mail and other sounds for AOL. He wasn't a professional voice. He was the husband of one of the customer service reps.
    After AOL took off he sued for more compensation.

     

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  10.  
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    Alimas, May 22nd, 2008 @ 9:09am

    Re: $1000 a day?!?!!?

    Hell, I'd take $1000 just for today.

     

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    sonofdot, May 22nd, 2008 @ 9:10am

    What an moron

    This joker actually makes this statement in the article: "I blame our union for not having the agreements in place to protect the creative people who drive the sales of these games."

    Exactly what "creative" work did he do? He spoke words from a script that someone else wrote, and performed actions that were choreographed by someone else. What's so creative about that?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2008 @ 9:10am

    I'm sure his agent had nothing to do with this.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2008 @ 9:10am

    someone call the waaaaaaaaaambulance

    what a crybaby

     

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    Ryan, May 22nd, 2008 @ 9:25am

    this ignores the obvious

    Why wasn't the composer given a share of the profits but rather paid a flat rate? It is not a question of pragmatic money making like a lot of people here are suggesting. The reality is I have no clue who the composer is and Rockstar could have chosen from any number of them without me ever even thinking about it.

    It is the same situation for this actor. I have no clue who the hell this guy is. That is why he cannot command a larger cut of the profits. He does not have any leverage because as the original article points out; Rockstar could have just as easily gone with another actor. The other obvious part of this equation is, even though the game made 600 million dollars, his participation did not significantly increase the value (or sales) of the game beyond what many other actors could have. Once video game actors build name brand recognition like movie stars have then they will be able to command similar salaries that movie stars do.

     

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    Ajax 4Hire, May 22nd, 2008 @ 9:31am

    Yes, and engineers should get a cut

    of every iPod that is sold;
    of every laptop, TV, cablebox, Blackbery, Razr etc.
    The engineers who did the design would should get a cut of every electronic device every produced.

    While we are at it, for any bridge, road, building we should be paying a regular stipend to all the construction workers, architects, Civil Engineers for their creativity.

    Doctors should receive a regular income from you personally for keeping you healthy.

    Teachers and College Professors should get a portion of every student's income.

    yes, makes sense.
    An actor should get a portion of every dollar for every time some of the content they contributed to.

    oooo, ended sentence with preposition, I need to go pay my 8th grade teacher.

     

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    freakengine, May 22nd, 2008 @ 9:32am

    WHAT!?

    You mean to tell me he blew through that $100K on coke and hookers ALREADY?! C'mon, Hollick, you're no Charlie Sheen! You gotta bank some of that cash!

     

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    Triatomic Tortoise, May 22nd, 2008 @ 9:33am

    Re: Next Job?

    ---
    there goes his next job!
    greed has no bounds....
    ---
    Good comment. Only an idiot affords to kill his career like this.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2008 @ 9:34am

    Because he's obviously that crucial to the game

    Now, see, the funny thing is that if the game bombed and the game studio requested pieces of his salary back after the fact, then the studio would be the bad guy. These people want all of the benefits of potential blockbuster success without any of the risk of a bomb. Take your salary,do your work, and be done with it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2008 @ 9:35am

    Pay your 8th grade teacher?

    Actually, she should pay you: obviously the education wasn't good enough.

     

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  20.  
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    Mike, May 22nd, 2008 @ 9:42am

    A Grand a Day?

    Geez, he sure makes more than a Dope Smokin Rodeo Clown!

     

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  21.  
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    TeamTutorials, May 22nd, 2008 @ 9:50am

    Only $100k?

    Rockstar could have easily paid him more for the role of the main character. That being said, I wouldn't complain about making $100k in 15 months.

     

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  22.  
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    Joshua, May 22nd, 2008 @ 10:00am

    Visibility Matters

    The fact is that no-one bought this game to hear the voice actor that plays Niko. The trailers don't even feature his voice at all (or very little), having more voice content from the secondary characters.

    I could see paying royalties to an actor that helps sell the game by virtue of them being in it, but the fact is that those kind of actors and roles are very very rare.

    The only games I have ever bought with the actor in mind over the game itself was the Command and Conquer series. Joseph D. Kucan in the role of Kane made that series for me.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2008 @ 10:03am

    Re: Only $100k?

    Yeah, they probably could have. But that wasn't the deal that was struck. I don't care if they paid him 36 cents a day for the work, if that's what he agreed to he has no place to complain about it after the fact.

     

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  24.  
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    Patrick, May 22nd, 2008 @ 10:08am

    Bogus

    I usually agree with TechDirt's opinions but this is crap. You attack this guy on bad grounds. He isn't complaining about Rockstar ripping him off he is trying to put a message out to the Unions who sign the contracts and get them the jobs that the pay needs to work on a hollywood and TV show type scale. Where the actor is rewarded for good sales.

    Read the full article and statements about the guy before you tear him apart. He isn't suing them he's make a valid point. You seem like the jerks this time.

     

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  25.  
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    erica, May 22nd, 2008 @ 10:12am

    Re: $1000 a day?!?!!?

    I'll take $1000 a day for a week.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2008 @ 10:14am

    If he likes to complain after the fact, then the industry has a good way to respond. Don't ever hire him again. If people who create these problems don't ever see another call-back, the who process of whining after cashing the checks will slow and stop.

     

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  27.  
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    George, May 22nd, 2008 @ 10:15am

    re: Bogus

    I agree with you, patrick. I think techdirt kinda misread the article.

    "That is because the contracts between the actors’ union and the entertainment industry make little or no provision for electronic media like video games and the Internet. It is a discrepancy that is expected to dominate negotiations between Hollywood and the guild this summer, with many predicting an actors’ strike to parallel the writers’ strike last year, which revolved around similar issues."

     

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  28.  
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    suckerpunch-tm, May 22nd, 2008 @ 10:28am

    Hollick says "Yes, the technology is important, but it’s the human performances within them that people really connect to, and I hope actors will get more respect for the work they do within those technologies.”

    Talk about being out of touch with your audience.

    That being said Hollick's issue is with the union, not RockStar. But I still agree with the notion that you negotiate your fee upfront (whether its a flat rate or a percentage) and don't whine after the fact.

     

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  29.  
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    suckerpunch-tm, May 22nd, 2008 @ 10:31am

    In general, I think actors are the least important aspect of any sort of production.
    If you don't have the story, the script, the effects, it doesn't matter who your actor is.
    I'm not saying acting isn't an art form, but when it comes to video games or movies, to me, its the least important element.

     

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  30.  
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    Ben, May 22nd, 2008 @ 10:39am

    Popularity is his pay

    This guy not only got $100K, he got his name out there too. This GTA 4 gig is a great feather in his cap so he really shouldn't be complaining!

     

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  31.  
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    Chiropetra, May 22nd, 2008 @ 10:43am

    Color me unsympathetic.

    Fundamentally this is a matter of contract negotiation. If the actors can negotiate a royalty deal that's between them and the game companies.

    But no contract, no royalties. (The screenwriters, please note, struck over the terms of a new contract.)

    Personally I doubt the actors are going to have much luck for the same reasons electricians, lighting directors, etc. don't usually get royalties for movies.

     

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  32.  
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    Scott Gardner, May 22nd, 2008 @ 10:54am

    Re: Gettin a cut

    Actually, I seem to recall that *on paper*, 1989's "Batman" has never actually turned a profit. (Perhaps Nicholson negotiated for a percentage of the net profits rather than the gross profits, and this is just the studio's way of getting out of paying him).

    In a similar vein, I saw an interview with Jack Klugman a few months back. Evidently, he owns 40% of the profits from syndication of his show "Quincy, M.E.". But after decades of syndication and almost a *billion* dollars earned from the show, he hasn't been paid any of his royalties. There are a million ways to manipulate the books to hide/minimize profits, and the producers know all of them.

     

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  33.  
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    dorpass, May 22nd, 2008 @ 11:11am

    Re: re: Bogus

    I think you and Patrick misread the history altogether. Nothing new here, just whining.

    "That is because the contracts between the actors’ union and the entertainment industry make little or no provision for electronic media like video games and the Internet. It is a discrepancy that is expected to dominate negotiations between Hollywood and the guild this summer, with many predicting an actors’ strike to parallel the writers’ strike last year, which revolved around similar issues."

    How is that ANY different from a movie? Movie gets distributed forever and as an actor, you can either negotiate to get a salary for being in it, a portion of profit, or if you are smart enough, a portion of revenue. And your choices of negotiation are directly tied to how easily replaceable you are.

     

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  34.  
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    Dolf, May 22nd, 2008 @ 11:15am

    horse puckey

    There's one word that keeps popping up that just defines the whole situation: union. At one point in history labor unions served their purpose. Today they only thing they're good for is providing us with a different way to say 'organized crime.'

     

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  35.  
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    Paul, May 22nd, 2008 @ 11:18am

    Serve's em right...

    I'd be happy to see the guy get another payday for all this. Not that I think it's logical. I do think it would be a much needed blow to the ego of Rockstar Games, though. Serves 'em right for releasing a bugged-to-hell game that doesn't even have 1080p resolution. Shame.

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2008 @ 11:30am

    Re: Bogus

    Because of the points above, notably that he's effecively a no-name actor who's participation didn't significantly drive sales of the game (people bought it because it was GTA, not because he was in it), I still hold that he's being unreasonable. If he really did drive sales, then sure, maybe something ought to have been worked out. But at least these days people buy games for the story, the interaction, the experience -- not the acting. Comparing it to Hollywood isn't right because even though he's an actor this isn't a move. People don't buy it for his performance.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2008 @ 11:33am

    Re: Re: re: Bogus

    It's different because video games don't require actors the way movies do. Cut the voices and add in text and you don't need an actor. They add to it, sure; that's why you'd pay them for their work. But they're really over-valuing their contribution if they think they should get a cut the way movie actors do.

     

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  38.  
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    Lateralus, May 22nd, 2008 @ 11:33am

    Its hard to negotiate when you are lied too.

    I think one thing worth noting is that he was not told that he was working on GTA 4 they had told the actors it was some other project a new no name startup video game, "frozen" or something of the sort. They didn't want information about the game leaking out. That deception might warrant a contract renegotiation. If I knew I was working on an unproven initial release I may take 100k and run with it but if I knew it was going to be GTA 4 I would probably take 0 upfront and instead get a cut of the net profits.

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2008 @ 11:35am

    Re:

    I disagree on that point: a good actor can take a dead script and make it engaging. They can take a flat character and add nuance that makes them human.

    That being said, I think they're the least important piece of a video game. You don't play a game to see good acting, you play the game to play the game. Everything else is gravy.

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2008 @ 11:38am

    Re: Its hard to negotiate when you are lied too.

    That sounds a lot like greed, frankly. There's a price for which you're willing to work, we'll call it reasonable compensation. Anything beyond reasonable compensation is over-reaching, and changing how much you're willing to work for based on how successful you expect the end product to be is rather disgraceful.

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2008 @ 11:45am

    Re: Re: Its hard to negotiate when you are lied too.

    How is that greed. I could make nothing. Its a risk like investing in a stock. If you believe in the product and you believe in your skills then put your money where your mouth is. If it tanks you make nothing. People do this with every startup venture. If the company is willing to take you up on the offer and it sells 600 million more power to you. I think Keanu Reeves did the same thing with The Matrix. Probably part of the reason that shitty ass actor got the job.

    I think you are missing the point though you charge differently if you are working on an unproven release versus a billion dollar franchise.

     

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  42.  
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    Lateralus, May 22nd, 2008 @ 11:49am

    Re: Re: Its hard to negotiate when you are lied too.

    I think that I would ask for a different contract if I knew I was working on the next Coen brothers film versus the next Hillary Duff movie.

     

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  43.  
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    Keep it real, May 22nd, 2008 @ 11:58am

    GTAIV Voice Actors

    If any of the voice actors deserve more money in this game its 'Roman.'

     

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  44.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2008 @ 12:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Its hard to negotiate when you are lied too.

    If you're taking an honest risk because you believe in your skills and your product, that's one thing. it's when you're willing to cut-and-run on an unknown product but demand premium pay for a project you expect to be a no-brained blockbuster (like GTA4) that it starts to sound like greed. When you say, "I would have charged more if I knew THAT'S what I was working on."

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2008 @ 12:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Its hard to negotiate when you are lied too.

    And I wopuld question why. Is your work more valuable if it's done for one more than the other? Do you expect to be more effective working with Coen than with Duff? Do you expect that you actually DESERVE more for your work, or are you just trying to soak up more money because you expect that it's there?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2008 @ 12:17pm

    This is silly that this guy thinks he deserves some sort of royalties for GTA's success. In the scope of the entire game he probably did about 0.0001% of the work that is needed to make a game, especially one like GTA IV which had been in production for years. If he wants royalties for his equal share of work then Rockstar can cut him a check for $60.

     

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  47.  
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    Rose M. Welch, May 22nd, 2008 @ 12:20pm

    Irony is sweet.

    If they were vague, he should have asked questions. He was satisfied then and he should deal with it, just like songwriters and musicians who complain about not being paid more than thier contract say they'll be paid.

    All of the scenarios are symptoms of the entertainment industry as a whole saying pay us and pay us and pay us again... Bite you on the butt, industry!

    Laughing all the way to the game store...

     

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  48.  
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    Norman619, May 22nd, 2008 @ 12:22pm

    WTF?

    He's upset that he was too stupid to know that the GTA games tend to make big bucks? Sorry but he deserves nothing more and nothing less than what was stipulated in the contract he negotiated. I am getting damned tired of actors and writers feeling entitled to more than what they agreed to just because the company that PAID them for their work uses the finished product to make a shi t load of cash. I hope this greedy asshat gets blacklisted in the game industry for this move.

     

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  49.  
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    the Contorted Over-Hyped News Dept., May 22nd, 2008 @ 12:26pm

    Horrible Journalism at its finest

    Report the whole story next time, techdirt twats.

    "Obviously I'm incredibly thankful to Rockstar for the opportunity to be in this game when I was just a nobody, an unknown quantity," said Hollick to the NYT. "But it's tough, when you see Grand Theft Auto IV out there as the biggest thing going right now, when they're making hundreds of millions of dollars, and we don't see any of it. I don't blame Rockstar. I blame our union for not having the agreements in place to protect the creative people who drive the sales of these games. Yes, the technology is important, but it's the human performances within them that people really connect to, and I hope actors will get more respect for the work they do within those technologies."

     

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  50.  
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    Lateralus, May 22nd, 2008 @ 12:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Its hard to negotiate when you are lied too.

    Absolutely yes. I am being hired to work with the Coen brothers so I am probably a more valuable commodity than if I were hired for a Duff movie. Its competition at a different level. You don't have academy award winning actors as competition to work in a Hillary Duff movie. Its like saying that a programmer at Google does the same job as some local web shop. Just because they are both coding doesn't mean that they deserve the same pay. Actors like programmers are not all equal and they don't deserve equal pay.

    So say I am a out of work actor. I send in a tape to a production studio they say they like it and they want me to star in some no name flick with some no name director. I negotiate a contract with that in mind thinking I am still just a bottom barrel actor but at least I have work. Then I find out after the movie is released that It was actually the next Academy award winning master piece directed by Spielberg or someone like that and that I was actually competing with Huge name actors and out performed them. I think I would feel a bit cheated. I am not saying this guy deservers more than 100k I am just saying that its hard to go into contract negotiations with false information.

     

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  51.  
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    Steve COREY, May 22nd, 2008 @ 12:48pm

    Should get a cut of the loss

    This actor had no risk in this project. The software company had all the risk and should get the rewards. With the actor's logic he should be forced to pay expenses if the project was not successful...

     

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  52.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2008 @ 12:52pm

    For the rest of the world, when we sign a contract, we're bound to it. He could have easily read his contract and tried to negotiate royalties before signing- it's not like GTA4 was a surprise hit. Personally, I would have just been glad to get away from the shit jobs he was working and have something worthwhile to put on the resume. Now he's blown all his dough AND he'll never get any serious work again. Nice!

     

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    mobiGeek, May 22nd, 2008 @ 12:57pm

    Re: Bogus

    So how much should Rockstar give to someone involved with the development of a revenue stream who did not negotiate this amount ahead of time?

    Should they give him $1000? $10,000? 0.0001% of revenue? 1% of profit?

    If they give him $1000, or $10,000, or whatever...what's to say he doesn't turn around and complain (or worse, sue) for more? By offering him monies that they are not required to give him, they are opening up an avenue for him to go for more ("if they didn't owe me $1M, why did they try to buy me off with $1000??").

     

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  54.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2008 @ 1:00pm

    Well...

    ... If Hillary can do it, why not?

     

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  55.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2008 @ 1:06pm

    He was hired by Rock Star to do a job and he got paid for it. Then the job ended and the pay stopped. I am paid by my company to do a job too an I get paid for it. If I quit my job or my services are no longer needed, my income stops. Duh.

     

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  56.  
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    Joel Coehoorn, May 22nd, 2008 @ 1:20pm

    Re:

    Actually, if he thinks he did good work than this is a very smart career move, even if he doesn't get a dime. He hasn't sued and has been very careful to speak well of the studio.

    Before yesterday, no one knew who he was. Today, that's different. So he used the publicity to buy a very small amount of name recognition. Not much, but it's something. It might be enough to land him his next gig: Michael Hollick, lead voice from GTAIV.

     

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  57.  
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    Tony, May 22nd, 2008 @ 2:04pm

    Re: Re: re: Bogus

    "Movie gets distributed forever and as an actor, you can either negotiate to get a salary for being in it, a portion of profit, or if you are smart enough, a portion of revenue."

    Not quite.

    For Union actors (SAG) in Union movies (which is just about every on you see in the theaters), "residuals" is automatically a part of the contract - no negotiation on the part of the actor. This includes actors like the waiter who shouts "Look out" to Jackie Chan, and has no other part of the movie. What actors are paid, and how much the studio has to pay to show the movie on TV, cable, DVD, etc. is ALL governed by the collective contract.

    Only when you get to the level of known actors do you have any real leeway in negotiation - and no matter what you negotiate, it CANNOT be LESS than what the collective contract specifies.

    And for those people saying "what about the graphic designers" and so on - the problem is that you're looking at this from a tech-industry POV, and the actor is looking at it from a Hollywood POV. In the movie industry, above-the-line talent (actors, directors, writers) get residuals. Below-the-line talent (grips, gaffers, CG artists, set designers, etc.) get a flat rate, no residuals.

    You can argue that it SHOULDN'T be the case, but that's the way it IS, and that is why this actor, along with many others, have this particular complaint.

    Far as I'm concerned - the solution is simple. Don't use SAG actors for your videogames.

     

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  58.  
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    bfos7215, May 22nd, 2008 @ 2:25pm

    That's a Complaint?

    He's hardly "complaining", he's just explaining something he'd like to see changed. I'm sure NO ONE here has every remarked that they think they deserver to get paid more. NEVER.

     

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  59.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2008 @ 2:47pm

    I'd suck off a cocker spaniel for $1000.00

    Times are tough

     

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  60.  
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    John, May 22nd, 2008 @ 3:29pm

    End residuals?

    Like the other posters seem to be saying, maybe it's time to end the entire residual payment system. Why are actors, directors, and such paid differently than the rest of the world? Is making a movie any more or less "creative" than designing a website or a database... which the person will be paid a flat fee.

    If a studio pays Tom Cruise or Will Smith $30 million to be in a movie, or pays Steven Spielberg $40 million to direct, isn't that enough?
    And like some people mentioned, studios know how to "cook the books" so it looks like a movie never made any profit and so they don't have to pay an residuals. If this is the case, why even pay residuals? You hire an actor a movie, he comes in, does the job, gets paid, and goes home. The end.
    He doesn't need a 2% cut of the box office gross or 1% of DVD sales or 0.5% of action figure sales.

     

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  61.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2008 @ 3:39pm

    Never gonna happen. No game developer in their right mind would ever pay residuals to an actor for VO work. The reason the union doesn't push hard for residuals is because the moment they say, "we won't do VO work without residuals" is the same moment video game devs say, "that's too bad we'll just find some non union person that'll do it for a flat fee". Right now for the game industry residuals go to the Programmers, Artists, and Designers, which is the way it should be because they are the ones make the game, not Joe Blow off the street that'll sell his voice for a few hundred bucks and hour or in this case about a grand(which in my opinion is overpaying).

     

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  62.  
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    Bert, May 22nd, 2008 @ 3:50pm

    Re: Serve's em right...

    This would be a bad thing for the video game industry as a whole. Once one actor gets residuals they didn't earn, everyone will want them. The industry will either stop using union actors or they will use them and just increase production costs(raise game prices, it'll all trickle down). Giving an actor residuals for this stuff will only take away money from the real people doing all the work on those games. Once that happens the quality of games will go downhill fast because those real people, who are working hard in hopes of a big payday with a hit game, won't work so hard because they won't see the point if it doesn't get them anything extra.

     

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  63.  
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    dude, May 22nd, 2008 @ 3:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: re: Bogus

    In the video game industry this isn't the case. The people that get residuals are the programmers, artist and designers, not the actor lending his voice. This guy wants that to change and it isn't going to happen. If they go on strike, so be it, it'll end with them either giving up or wiping out a whole source of income. Video games don't need actors.

     

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  64.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2008 @ 7:48pm

    Re: Popularity is his pay

    His complaint got his name out there again.

     

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  65.  
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    Killer_Tofu (profile), May 23rd, 2008 @ 6:24am

    Re: Horrible Journalism at its finest #49

    " I blame our union for not having the agreements in place to protect the creative people who drive the sales of these games. Yes, the technology is important, but it's the human performances within them that people really connect to, and I hope actors will get more respect for the work they do within those technologies.""

    Wow, that right there shows that this guy has never played video games before and doesn't understand a darn thing about the market. Pft. Maybe, for large games, it is the characters that people connect to. But that is only a small part of the overall gameplay and environment. To be so pompous as to think that his voice acting was all there was to the character. It was the game designers and the writer who gave the story and script to him for the character to begin with. He is nothing. He is easily replaceable. Very easy. All games before voice acting show this.

     

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  66.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2008 @ 6:30am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Its hard to negotiate when you are lied too.

    And I think you're still looking at it wrong. You pay more to attract good tallent because they're rare, but you don't pay people more because the end product -- which is produce by lots of other people as well -- is expected to be a hit. Regardless of anything else, you should expect compensation on a level with your abilities: if you under-value yourself, then that's your problem. If you over-value yourself, that's your problem. If you feel you're being under-valued, you don't take the job.

    Would I expect to be paid more at Google doing the same job I'm doing now? No. But would them offering more money increase the chances that I'll work for them? Yes. Google pays more in order to attract the best talent; looking at it your way is rather backwards and arrogant.

     

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  67.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2008 @ 6:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Its hard to negotiate when you are lied too.

    Of course, if you think you're being over-valued, bully for you. If you can get away with it, take the money and run. :p

     

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  68.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2008 @ 6:35am

    Re: WTF?

    Someone above notes that he might not have been told it was GTA4, which I'd believe. I don't think that changes anything. You negotiate based on your own skills and the contributions you'll make, not based on what the project is. If you think you deserve a cut of the profits, put that into the negotiations, but don't be surprised if they take someone who underbids you. And don't complain after the fact if you accept an agreement you don't think is fair.

     

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  69.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2008 @ 6:35am

    Re: WTF?

    Someone above notes that he might not have been told it was GTA4, which I'd believe. I don't think that changes anything. You negotiate based on your own skills and the contributions you'll make, not based on what the project is. If you think you deserve a cut of the profits, put that into the negotiations, but don't be surprised if they take someone who underbids you. And don't complain after the fact if you accept an agreement you don't think is fair.

     

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  70.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2008 @ 6:39am

    Re: That's a Complaint?

    The argument, though, is that he doesn't deserve more. He was paid reasonably for his work, and strictly speaking voice actors are *not* integral to video games. If the whole thing had been silent, no one would have noticed.

     

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  71.  
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    Lucretious, May 27th, 2008 @ 4:08pm

    What a baby, many people don't make that amount in 5 years. Your speaking into a mike for a living and making a ton of cash at it, what more could you possibly want?

     

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  72.  
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    Bob, May 28th, 2008 @ 6:25am

    RE #65

    I think Cortana and Master Chief VO were at least 40% of why I liked the story.

     

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  73.  
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    DH, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 1:23pm

    Re: Re: Bogus

    "Comparing it to Hollywood isn't right because even though he's an actor this isn't a move. People don't buy it for his performance."

    Sales-based residuals aren’t “bonuses” or “extra money”, as many people out there seem to think; they’re deferred payments against the lifetime value of the work. In other words, when residuals are part of a negotiated contract — something that’s not currently part of SAG and AFTRA’s “new media” agreements, including videogames — the studio is essentially saying to the actor “your work is worth X, but that’s too large an amount for us to pay up front because of the production costs we’re already incurring. Therefore, we’ll pay you a smaller percentage up front, and if the game/movie/etc. is a success, then we’ll pay you the remainder of that value over time.” Film actors get weekly checks for their movie roles not because their performances are stellar, but because their client (the studio) is on an installment plan. (This is one reason why the studios, long ago, agreed to the royalties system proposed by SAG; it places a risk on the part of the actor — he stands to lose, say, 80% of the value of his work — alongside the financial risk incurred by the studio on that project.)

    This also renders moot the argument that gamers don’t buy titles based on the quality of the actor’s performance. It may be true, but it misses the point. (It’s also ironic, given the speed with which gamers will flock to message boards to complain when the voice acting is below par.) Again, the ability — or inability — to act one’s way out of a paper bag has no bearing on whether residuals are paid. Right now, somewhere, Larry the Cable Guy is getting a check for that “Health Inspector” movie.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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