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Old 05-08-2012   #1
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Default SAG rules about voice actors voicing multiple characters in an episode

I got this from Greg Weisman's (co-creator of Gargoyles, Spectacular Spider-Man and Young Justice) site. It's an interesting post regarding how many characters a voice actor can play in an episode before it exceeds the limit after which they must be paid in full as if they were an entirely separate actor.

The post is a response to a fan question about why Corey Burton didn't voice a particular character in an episode of Young Justice.

"All our actors - Corey included, of course - share a similar contract, with a favored nation clause. That means whatever deal one actor gets, if it's superior to what the other actors have, they ALL get it. That sounds great, but it has the reverse effect. It means the studio is NEVER willing to pay extra for anything or anyone, because if they do - then they have to match it for EVERY actor in the series, and that's just not budget-friendly.
So that means every actor - whether they're famous or a first-timer - gets the exact same deal.
And, per SAG (i.e. the Screen Actor's Guild), here's the deal:
*For a specific amount of money (that, NO, I will not state - so don't ask), we get an actor to play ONE character per episode.
*For no additional money, we can ask that actor to play a SECOND character in the same episode.
*For a SMALL additional fee, we can ask that actor to play a THIRD character in the same episode. (The budget allows for this small additional fee, so you'll often see us use one actor for three voices in a given episode.)
*But if we want a FOURTH character, we have to pay the actor from scratch. A full second payment.
So, it costs us no more or no less to hire ANOTHER actor to play that fourth character as it would to ask an actor already in the cast to play that fourth. And if we hire that other actor, we can get him or her to play a FIFTH character for free, and a SIXTH for that small additional fee. So there's no economic insentive to give one actor more than three roles.
Now, we're not above doing it when it's warranted. For example, if we needed Superboy, Superman, Zatara and Marvin White in one episode, I wouldn't hesitate to pay Nolan North two full payments to get them. BUT - and here's where your original Corey question comes in - if we could get away with Marvin appearing WITHOUT speaking, then that would save us some money, and it's a path we might take.
SO, with Corey, we NEEDED him to play Brain, James Gordon and Wizard. That's three voices. We didn't need Dudley to speak, so we saved some money there."

Here's the full question and answer.
"American components! Russian components! All made in Taiwan!!!" - Lev (Armageddon)
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Old 05-08-2012   #2
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Default Re: SAG rules about voice actors voicing multiple characters in an episode

Huh, that's interesting. Never knew that before. That's why I rarely see more than three characters credited for VAs on shows like TFP and A:EMH.
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Old 05-08-2012   #3
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Default Re: SAG rules about voice actors voicing multiple characters in an episode

Ooh, very interesting. I remember reading in some interviews that the '80s Transformers show did the same thing. A maximum of three characters before an additional payment was considered necessary (naturally, this usually applied to Frank Welker).
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Old 05-09-2012   #4
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Default Re: SAG rules about voice actors voicing multiple characters in an episode

Very interesting read.

I've read some info about anime dubbing and rates (thanks to an in-depth Kyle Hebert interview) but it's also good to know about how pre-lay contracts work too.

The only previous knowledge I had was from Wally Burr's quote (on our site :p).

However I'm not sure if those rules are still the same today compared to back then when he did a lot of directing.

"Union rules allow 4 hours for recording the dialogue for a half-hour show. Overtime must be paid after that time. Based on the assumption that most things (including cartoon shows) can be done better if one uses the allowed time to the fullest, I usually plan to use the full 4 hours. Some directors pride themselves on getting a script recorded in 2 or 3 hours. But the actors are still paid for 4, so I see no point in establishing new speed records when there are almost always scenes or sequences that could be improved by doing another take. And yes, I have a reputation for frequently asking for several takes. I also have a reputation for producing crisp, well-paced, well-acted dialogue tracks."

Last edited by Jackson_H; 05-09-2012 at 12:36 PM.
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