Fallout 4 voice actor wasn’t told what game he was in for more than a year

In a media roundtable/press conference with SAG-AFTRA regarding the recently launched voice actor strike against video companies, union reps shared some of the contract items they were requesting. Among the safety regulations and secondary compensation request, the union is also asking for more transparency about the work they’re hired to do.

According to actor and SAG-AFTRA Interactive Committee Chair Keythe Farley, he portrayed the character Conrad Kellogg in Fallout 4, but wasn’t told what game he was working on for more than a year, even though he signed a non-disclosure agreement.

“I can’t imagine that there’s another acting job in the world where you don’t know what show you’re in when you’re hired and yet that happens every day in the video game world,” Farley said. “Producers hide the actual titles of their project. I was a main character in Fallout 4 by the name of Kellogg. I never knew that I was working on Fallout 4 throughout the year and half I did vocal recording for that game. You show up, and there’s a stack of scripts on the music stand with your lines only.”

Farley continued to mention when he works in television, he’s told what program he’s been hired for, what his role is (lead, co-star, guest star, etc.), how many scenes he’ll be doing, and even how many lines he’d be speaking in each scene. Farley explained that keeping this information hidden and secret keeps a voice actor’s agent from negotiating on an actor’s behalf, especially if it’s a very high-profile title.

"Almost always we're asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement," Farley said. "Actors are willing to do that and we're good at keeping our mouths shut, even though we talk for a living. Even on Fallout 4, I signed a non-disclosure agreement. And the person I was working with said, 'Oh, this is a big title, trust me!' I said, 'Oh what is it?' She said 'It's a big one.' And that's all I was told. For a year and a half that I worked on that project."

In addition, Farley said that sometimes actors show up to jobs and are asked to perform roles that are morally objectionable. He cited games like Grand Theft Auto V as an example of where an actor may find some of the roles within that game morally objectionable and that actors would like to know what they're getting into.

SAG-AFTRA union members plan to picket Electronic Arts headquarters on Monday, October 24 at 10:30 a.m. pacific time. We’ll have more coverage of the strike so stay tuned and visit SAG-AFTRA website for more information.