Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

GTA IV Voice Actor Complains About Being Paid Peanuts

Last response: in Video Games
Share
May 27, 2008 8:41:22 AM

"New York (NY) - You may not recognize his face, but millions of people will recognize his voice from the best-selling video game Grand Theft Auto IV. Aspiring actor Michael Hollick's voice and walk was used to model Niko Belic, the car-jacking main character of the game. For Hollick, this was a big step up from his days as a bartender, bagel shop employee and perfume hawker, but he now complains that he should have received much more.

Hollick was paid approximately $100,000 over 15 months or $1050 per day of work. Unlike actors in big-screen movies, he received no residuals from the more than $600 million that the game has raked in so far. But Hollick doesn't blame Rockstar Games or Take-Two Interactive; instead the blame should be placed on the Screen Actors Guild which currently has no residuals agreement with the video game industry."

So this guy is basically a step away from being a bum living on the streets, then he gets a job paying $1000 a day to walk around and talk, and he has a cry?

Boohoo! $1000 a day is not enough.

He probably made 1k/fortnight before, but now hes a greedy ****. You KNEW what you would be getting paid in advance, now STFU.
When i go home, im gonna load GTA4, drive a car a little too slow over that river jump, then jump out the car half way thru so Nico lands head first into the wall. I will imaging that is Mr Hollick.
May 27, 2008 9:03:46 AM

Thats why i dont feel any remorse downloading music/videos. When i ear the earnings of those guys i just feel like having a Roid Rage attack.
May 27, 2008 9:19:27 PM

I wonder how many programmers got paid less than him to do way more work. He got paid $100,000 for working less than 100 days in a year and 3 months. That's ridiculous.
May 27, 2008 10:02:53 PM

radnor said:
Thats why i dont feel any remorse downloading music/videos. When i ear the earnings of those guys i just feel like having a Roid Rage attack.

Let's see $100,000/15 months = $80,000/year. Not exaclty rolling in the dough when you consider that you probably lives in NYC and it's only a 15 month job. He probably goes back to waiting tables after that. Also read what he's actually complaining about. Not the gaming industry but the union which he has to pay dues to. He's paying them to negotiate better deals for him and obviously they are not doing as good a job as they could. But just because he makes a little more money than you guys you tell him to STFU. Stop being jealous and get real.
May 27, 2008 11:22:54 PM

Quote:
He's paying them to negotiate better deals for him and obviously they are not doing as good a job as they could

So he should probably take that up with them directly. It's hard to gain sympathy and support from people who work harder for less money.

Quote:
But just because he makes a little more money than you guys you tell him to STFU.

No, because he made $100,000 for less than 100 days' work. If he thinks he deserves more money, he should go directly after either the writers' guild or Rockstar, don't go looking to the public for support when you're already making a pretty decent amount of money for minimal work. That's just silly

Quote:
Stop being jealous and get real.

Funny, I was thinking the same thing about the voice actor.

He got paid a set amount of money, and he agreed to it. Say the game had been a total flop and they ended up losing money, he wouldn't be there to say "Wait, take some of my pay, I want things to be fair throughout the company!" Plus, it's GTA, what did he expect? He was in a **** situation where he had to take less pay for the experience. Welcome to the real world. Sometimes you have to earn less to earn more.

May 28, 2008 12:26:03 AM

Take a 0 off every number in that story and tell me that all your reactions would be the same?
May 28, 2008 12:50:31 AM

Quote:
So he should probably take that up with them directly. It's hard to gain sympathy and support from people who work harder for less money.

Did he write the story? I haven't read all of it because there is no link but I don't see anything that indicates that he's looking for sympathy. Are there any lawsuits or threat of litigation? Chances are some reported saw GTA IV as a good lead for a story and started asking this guy about what he did in the game and that's where the story lead. Haven't you ever been interviewed for a paper or something or known somebody who has? The story is almost never about what you think you spoke to the reporter about. The guy has a valid point about voice actors in games being paid on equal footing as say somebody in an animated film.

Quote:
No, because he made $100,000 for less than 100 days' work. If he thinks he deserves more money, he should go directly after either the writers' guild or Rockstar, don't go looking to the public for support when you're already making a pretty decent amount of money for minimal work. That's just silly
You're blowing the money way out of proportion. The average American worker probably works about 200 days a year. I doubt this guy even makes half that in the other 100 days. Probably more like 20K or 30K putting him at like 130K a year living in a major city. Not a ton of money. But if you want to talk about how much somebody makes by days of the year they work think about this; A high school teacher in a rural area can easily make 50K+ a year while only working a little more than 100 days. Their standard of living may very well be much higher than that guy. Would you tell them to STFU if they asked their union to negotiate a better deal?

Quote:
Funny, I was thinking the same thing about the voice actor.
He got paid a set amount of money, and he agreed to it. Say the game had been a total flop and they ended up losing money, he wouldn't be there to say "Wait, take some of my pay, I want things to be fair throughout the company!" Plus, it's GTA, what did he expect? He was in a **** situation where he had to take less pay for the experience. Welcome to the real world. Sometimes you have to earn less to earn more.


By that line of thinking wouldn't a better deal for video game actors mean you'd get better voice acting in games? Maybe there is hope for the next Elder Scrolls game!!!
May 28, 2008 1:38:03 AM

the average programmer makes around 50-60 thousand a year, and they work almost the entire year with very few days off

they have the hardest job as they may work for days on end with out much sleep in order to meet a deadline and not loose their job

and after the game is released, they have to make patches for the game then they have th merge into another project for making a part 2 to the game

May 28, 2008 1:52:46 AM

razor512 said:
the average programmer makes around 50-60 thousand a year, and they work almost the entire year with very few days off

they have the hardest job as they may work for days on end with out much sleep in order to meet a deadline and not loose their job

and after the game is released, they have to make patches for the game then they have th merge into another project for making a part 2 to the game

There are also plenty of people who work 2 or 3 jobs at minimum wage often including hard physical and/or dangerous labor. They probably don't even make half as much as a progarammer who gets to sit in an office all day and works half as many hours. To them any programmer who has the slightest complaint about their job should STFU. It's all relative.
May 28, 2008 4:47:15 AM

Here's a link to the full story in case anybody wants to read more than selective bolded text:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/21/arts/television/21gta.html?_r=2&sq=niko&st=nyt&scp=1&pagewanted=print&oref=slogin&oref=slogin

Anyways as I expected this guy isn't really complaining much. There's no threats of lawsuits or strikes or anything. He's simply saying had he done the exact same work for a movie, TV or radio he would have received residuals, specifically when it comes to marketing. I don't have GTAIV nor have never play it but I definatly know his voice from the ads, which had they been for almost any other media he would have received further compensation. But like I said the article doesn't even really portray him as really complaining much and he shows much gratitude towards Rockstar and Take Two for the opportunity. The most interest thing I did find in the article is the reasoning why game companies are reluctant to pay voice actors the same as TV, film or radio.
Quote:
The game companies that make millions in royalties appear reluctant to share. Among their executives, one real fear is that if they start paying royalties to a handful of actors, they will soon face similar demands from the legions of artists, designers, audio producers, musicians, programmers and other people who work for years to make a top-end game. If the actor doing a police officer’s voice-over gets royalties, the argument goes, why not the artist who designed his face, or the artificial-intelligence programmer who designed how he chases the bad guys?


When you think about it how much is there really to be lost by paying royalties to actors, especially if doing so get's you better actors. Not much considering most games don't even use them and those that do mostly only do so on a limited basis. Would you all be so against this guy if getting these royalties and residuals led to more compensation for programmers, developers and artist? Or maybe next time you'll actually read the article before you start bashing some guy simple because some other bafoon bolded some text.
May 28, 2008 5:32:39 AM

In a perfect world, everyone would get paid relative to their contribution. In the real world, some CEO is making a buttload while the lowly voice actor has to scrape by with a meager $100,000. Thems the breaks.
May 28, 2008 5:54:00 AM

True dat Oh Snap. But going back to what razor said about video game programmers have pretty rough jobs. I've actually heard this before (I've considered pursuing a career in the industry before) and the word is that these jobs can be extremely demanding without relativly great pay. And if a programmer complains they're shown the door pretty quickly because there is always somebody there to replace them. The publishers generally own the rights to the games so programmers and other artist are pretty screwed. This is probably why we see development teams move around so frequently. I just don't see how it's a bad thing if as gaming becomes more mainstream entertainment it is also influenced by how the wealth is distributed in other mainstream media. Really a programmer can't stand up in the current gaming industry for more rights. Uttering the 'U' would probably get a programmer fired as quickly as a Walmart employee, not to mention most likely being black balled as well. Even a measly voice actor who has the protection of a union can speak up because the gaming industry has no where else to go for voice actors. Like I told you before I'm no idealist, but this does seem like a realistic way to improve the gaming industry.
May 28, 2008 6:03:57 AM

purplerat said:
There are also plenty of people who work 2 or 3 jobs at minimum wage often including hard physical and/or dangerous labor. They probably don't even make half as much as a progarammer who gets to sit in an office all day and works half as many hours. To them any programmer who has the slightest complaint about their job should STFU. It's all relative.


True but then it also comes down to skill / studies. I work as a programmer and earn a lot more than the guy at the security booth however consider the years of studies and numerous qualifications I had to get before I could earn my inflated salary vs what he had to do to get his job.

Its relative however either actors are over paid or many sectors are underpaid. Actors get a massive up front payment which I am fine with, it is what was agreed upon and they have the skill (sometimes). What erks me is the royalites they get if the movie does well, no penalities if it doesn't do well but massive financial gains if it does.

The group I'm in writes software used literally by millions and we aren't even sure if we're getting bonuses this year even though the product made millions. Our work does well we see little gain however if things go wrong we have to work unholy hours to fix things or lose our jobs. I think thats more what the guy is complaining about.

Actor: Lots of cash up front, lots of cash if the product does well, no real penality if it doesn't.
The world: Some cash up front, no or little cash extra if the product does well, life altering penality if the product doesn't do well.

Thinking of it that way, yes I can see where he is coming from.
May 28, 2008 8:09:20 AM

Points to remember:
-The money was earned OVER 15 months, not FOR 15 months. There may have been weeks or even months where he didnt work for them.
-This WAS his first gig, hes an ASPIRING actor. Many big name actors started off running around getting bagles and coffee for people.

purplerat said:
Anyways as I expected this guy isn't really complaining much.


"For Hollick, this was a big step up... but he now complains that he should have received much more."

Its right there. Thats exactly what pisses me off. Oh yeah, its a big step up, but not big enough. Sure its only my first gig, but i was hoping to earn money off this for the rest of my life. Its a pretty piss poor attitude to have.

At the end of the day he knew the deal. If he wasnt happy with it, A)Try negotiate a better deal before signing B)Reject the offer and go back to selling perfume for a buck fifty an hour.

Maybe video gamers should demand better voice actors etc by offering residuals or more money. This WILL increase the production costs of games. Do you thing Mr 'Rockstar' or Mr EA is gonna say, "sure pay these guys more money, and i'll take a pay cut so we can pay them. No, the solution... raise the price of games to compensate. Consumers are getting a better game, why not charge them more?

It all comes down to supply and demand at the end of it. Here in Aus we have roof tilers, plumbers and carpenters earning more than the Prime Minister. Is that right?
May 28, 2008 1:44:06 PM

I'm not even going to argue about how or how much any actor gets paid because if you actually read this article you'd realize that's not what it's about.
Quote:

"For Hollick, this was a big step up... but he now complains that he should have received much more."
Its right there. Thats exactly what pisses me off. Oh yeah, its a big step up, but not big enough. Sure its only my first gig, but i was hoping to earn money off this for the rest of my life. Its a pretty piss poor attitude to have.

First of all learn what a quote is. What you are attributing to having been said by Mr. Hollick is actually coming from the reporter. Mr. Hollick never once in this article says anything remotely close to indicating that Rockstar should now go back and pay him extra because the game did well regardless of his contract. It's just not there but you continue to go on as if thats what this is all about. Once again ACTUALLY READ THE ARTICLE.
What this is about is how video games are making huge money (18 billion a year based on this artilce) but very little is shared with the people who work hard to create these games, whether it be voice actors, musicians or programmers. So I guess you must be all for a game like GTAIV making $600 million with almost all of the profits going to high level execs and shareholders.

Quote:
This WILL increase the production costs of games. Do you thing Mr 'Rockstar' or Mr EA is gonna say, "sure pay these guys more money, and i'll take a pay cut so we can pay them. No, the solution... raise the price of games to compensate. Consumers are getting a better game, why not charge them more?

That argument doesn't hold water because by that same logic just using voice actors (which is relatively new to games) should have raised prices by just as much. Video games have pretty much cost the same for the past 20 years and lots of new technologies and components have been added over the years without much additional cost to consumers. Why? Because people are not going to pay much more than $40-$60 per title. Paying this guy an extra $50K in royalties or giving programmers a few thousand dollar bonus if a game does well enough is not going to make much of a difference in a multi billion dollar industry. Really what it does is to force the people making all the money to reinvest in the product rather than pocketing huge profits. But if you're against that...
May 28, 2008 2:24:31 PM

Once again, Hollowood has let another of their beloved down. Hollowood movies are always full of the evil corporate giant against the little man, but when their writers were on strike, they fudged. The SAG? They dont even dare ask for residuals for something such as this, but the canvas is changing. Hollowood will have to belly up some of their easy money, as I see this trend expanding, and the usefulness of residuals a need. Anyone arguing against this is only belittling the gaming industry, I say the guy should get it, because games are outselling movies of late, and theres alot of money out there to be had by all
May 28, 2008 2:35:57 PM

This is what drives me nuts about sensationalist journalism and the morons who buy right into it. Yahoo has this story as a featured artice and this is the title they use
"GTA star wants millions more:
The lead voice of Grand Theft Auto IV feels he deserves millions of dollars."

Despite the fact that the Yahoo article is basically an article about another article and the sentiment of the title is not reflected at all in the actual story - the actor never says anything about deserving anything more from this game nevermind millions. But countless numbers of idiots will see this title, not read the full article and start bashing this guy just based on a couple lines of text which aren't even quotes attributed to the actual guy.
May 28, 2008 2:45:57 PM

Hey, alot of em want to be in Hollowood too heheh
May 29, 2008 3:17:25 AM

I would gladly do the work for $100,000, and I can hardly have any sympathy for this guy. He goes from nobody to somebody in a very short period of time, and then whines about it. Sounds like the way a lot of Americans are becoming nowadays, and it makes me sick - however, if there is a blow up with the union then that's fine by me because any step in a direction AGAINST a union is a step in the right direction....
May 29, 2008 3:27:54 AM

Quote:
He goes from nobody to somebody in a very short period of time, and then whines about it.

Did you even read the full article?
May 29, 2008 12:53:39 PM

Clearly he didn't. I'd give up, if I were you, Purplerat. Public education hasn't prevented the majority of people being idiots, so I doubt you can rectify the problem by yourself.
May 29, 2008 7:02:03 PM

Here's a thought:

Would the game have sold more or less with someone else as the voice actor? I think that would have more weight than simply how many games were sold. I willing to bet people bought the game for the gameplay and GTA name and not bacause Mr. Hollick was the main character's voice. I can understand that it would be nice for him to get a piece of the residual pie, but does his contibution really make or break the game? I have a feeling that if the main character had no voice like in GTA III it probably would have sold just the same, in fact they would have $100,000 more profit because they would not have had to pay a voice actor.
May 30, 2008 12:08:52 AM

JAYDEEJOHN said:
Hey, alot of em want to be in Hollowood too heheh

You should hire him to work for you and your business.
June 9, 2008 7:28:51 PM

purplerat said:
There are also plenty of people who work 2 or 3 jobs at minimum wage often including hard physical and/or dangerous labor. They probably don't even make half as much as a progarammer who gets to sit in an office all day and works half as many hours. To them any programmer who has the slightest complaint about their job should STFU. It's all relative.


Then they should probably get educated and become computer programmers.
June 22, 2008 8:25:17 AM

I work cheap, can I be a voice actor
!