Los Angeles, (March 31, 2009) - Attention conference attendees: Kindly ignore that blood-curdling scream. It’s just a professional voice actor demonstrating the many ways to die in a videogame.
Screen Actors Guild actors attended the 2009 San Francisco Game Developers Conference March 23-27 at the Moscone Center, where SAG was an official event sponsor. Voice actor David Sobolov, most recently appearing as the arch villain the Arbiter in the top-selling videogame Halo Wars, and film and television on-camera actor Noah Segan, in San Francisco to shoot All About Evil, talked to developers and press about the benefits of using Screen Actors Guild members in games, which are growing increasingly cinematic in quality.
Sobolov, who has voiced roles in dozens of games including Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, Transformers: The Game, Unreal Tournament III, Shark Tale and 23 characters in Everquest II, put out a friendly challenge to anyone who dared: Try acting out a few lines of dialog and see how it compares to the pros. Many found it wasn’t as easy as they thought! In addition, he did a live demonstration at a session on working with actors, during which he showed both the range and realism that a trained actor brings. (SAG sends apologies to anyone who thought actual murders had occurred.)
In between discussing business, Sobolov and Segan also played each other in some current videogames, including Resident Evil 5. (Click here for a high-resolution image of Segan and Sobolov, pictured left to right, playing Resident Evil 5. Photo courtesy of Screen Actors Guild.)
“If you want to blur the line between reality and fiction, there’s no better resource than an actor,” Segan told members of the gaming press. Segan has appeared in numerous motion pictures, including The Brothers Bloom, Brick, What We Do is Secret and Deadgirl.
“Our goal is to remind people, no matter what the medium, that it’s easy to have the greatest actors in the world perform in your digital entertainment projects,” said Bob Jensen, manager of the SAG National New Media Department, from the show floor. He and Pierre Debs, SAG senior business representative for Internet and Interactive/Videogame contracts, were among SAG staff in attendance.
Microsoft announced March 19 that Halo Wars had sold more than a million copies to become “the best selling real-time strategy game on any current generation console" after only just two weeks on the market. Screen Actors Guild, which provided voice acting for the lead roles in the game, joined the gaming community in lauding Halo Wars’ success, which includes not only stunning graphics, but cinema-quality sound design.
Sobolov said he was proud to be chosen for the role of the Arbiter.
“The developers made the right choice when they hired dozens of SAG voice performers to help bring this great videogame to life,” said Sobolov. “Screen Actors Guild members, along with many other creative professionals who love the Halo series, banded together to create something very special for gamers.”
SAG has been helping game developers to create the most compelling videogames on the planet for the last 20 years.
“I think sometimes people take for granted our members are in the movies they know and love, but when it comes to videogames, they simply aren’t always aware that our members are in those, too,” said Mark Friedlander, director of the National New Media Department. “In fact, we’ve been partners in some of the best-selling videogames of all time.”
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Screen Actors Guild is the nation’s largest labor union representing working actors. Established in 1933, SAG has a rich history in the American labor movement, from standing up to studios to break long-term engagement contracts in the 1940s to fighting for artists’ rights amid the digital revolution sweeping the entertainment industry in the 21st century. With 20 branches nationwide, SAG represents nearly 120,000 actors who work in motion pictures, television, commercials, videogames, music videos , industrial and all digital and new media formats. The Guild exists to enhance actors’ working conditions, compensation and benefits and to be a powerful, unified voice on behalf of artists’ rights. SAG is a proud affiliate of the AFL-CIO. Headquartered in Los Angeles, you can visit SAG online at www.sag.org.