What is your stance on Hasbro Studios using a non-union cast for Cyberverse?

Discussion in 'Transformers Cyberverse and Cartoon Discussion' started by convoy84, Jan 2, 2020.

  1. convoy84

    convoy84 misses you like the deserts miss the rain.

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    (Full disclosure: I first created this post on the Transformers subreddit on Reddit; I am porting it here to generate further discussion.)

    For those not aware, Cyberverse, the TV show (and Rescue Bots Academy as well), uses a non-union cast, meaning that the actors are not subject to be paid according to the rates established by the Screen Actors Guild, or SAG-AFTRA, and are instead paid at Hasbro's discretion, however much and whenever they decide. This would not be a problem to me if a.) a large chunk of Transformers media (G1, all the movies, Animated, Rescue Bots, RiD '15, Power of the Primes) were union productions, and b.) Hasbro opted to bring back the union cast of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic for a new show coming this year. It's also important to note that, according to D.C. Douglas, voice of Chase on Rescue Bots, he and his castmates were not notified by Hasbro that they would not be brought back for Academy.

    Personally, as an actor, I understand that a gig's a gig, and I'm sure the actors themselves are having a ball; why wouldn't they? Having a role on a major show that's broadcast basically everywhere must be a big boon for all of them, and so I support the cast, but from a corporate standpoint, it just reads like a very skeevy cost-cutting move to me, unless this is a means to an end so the War for Cybertron show they're doing with Rooster Teeth can have a big, attractive, union cast.

    What do you guys think?

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  2. OmegaTaco Supreme

    OmegaTaco Supreme Evil will always triumph, because good is dumb

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    As a former Union construction worker. I will say Unions were great back in the day, but now they are greedy assholes that dont really care for their employees and just extort money from companies.

    My favorite thing about my union was in the oath was crap about we fight communism. Yet unions tell you when to strike, where to shop, who to vote for, yadda yadda.
    Mine used to brag about how much money they had in the bank and can donate to any politician to make sure we always got the choice jobs.

    When I got laid off I was still expected to pay my dues, but whenever I called to see if any work was coming up they pretty much told me to F off, but keep sending those dues in. I left that work field and never looked back.

    So I dont really feel any sympathy for Unions when they get butt hurt.
     
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  3. Liege Nemesis

    Liege Nemesis Snarks about old cartoons

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    I don't care one way or another about unions for the reasons that OmegaTaco Supreme outlines above (and because he quoted Spaceballs in his user title and I have to give bonus points for that). As much good as they can do, they can also be bloated, corruptable, political entities just the same as the dastardly corporations they all paint themselves as valiantly fighting against. So the fact that a show's cast is a union one is not automatic points in their favor.

    That said, I am against the non-union casts for the very specific reason of quality. Quality actors are going to end up in union crews simply because they'll be the better paying ones. So we go from historically having SAG-accepted quality casts for most of the entire history of the show to something like Cyberverse, that audibly sounds like it's using inferior quality actors. Aside from the fact that I enjoy hearing familiar voices and actors in the other shows, the Cyberverse cast just feels 'off' to me. The voices don't always fit, the line readings don't always feel like they stick the landing, and the choices made come off as if they're somewhat unpolished and unsure. It's obviously not Omni Productions bad, but the shows suffer as a result.
     
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  4. TheSoundwave

    TheSoundwave Well-Known Member

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    I don't really care who they use as long as the voices are good. And in my opinion, the voices in Cyberverse really put a dent in the show. I just don't think they're very good. I can deal with somewhat subpar animation, but bad voice acting kind of makes me cringe, it takes me out of the show. I wouldn't say the Cyberverse voices are the worst, they're not as bad as some amateur YouTube voicework, but it gives me the same vibe. I don't feel like they're quite good enough for a professional project. There have to be plenty of non-union voice actors who can do better.

    I also take a bit of problem with the lack of Cullen's voice. I'd be fine with a different actor voicing Optimus if it were a very different take on the character. But Cyberverse has been marketed as a love-letter to G1, yet they can't even get the classic Optimus voice. Even Bay's movies (which were a very different take) understood the importance of Cullen's voice. It's not like Cullen is some A-list actor who demands a huge paycheck. He barely does anything outside of Transformers. I wish they could have at least gotten him.
     
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  5. Autovolt 127

    Autovolt 127 Get In The Titan, Prime!

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    Honestly i've always wanted a NY based Transformers voice cast though it's a mixed bag.

    non union voice acting doesn't inherently mean bad or good, ultimately it depends on the voice and casting director.

    Granted i think most of the main voices work or sound great, but certain characters voices like for Ratchet, Lockdown, Thundercracker absolutely do nothing for me. They sound ill-fitting and or forced.

    Jeremy Levy's Bumblebee is genuinely great, he shows so much range in his role, it shocks me he does Jetfire too with that Dudley Do Right esque voice. Ryan Andes shows lots of range as Grimlock able to make him smart and hammy in robot mode and lovably dumb and brutish in beast mode and his Shockwave can be outright chilling at times. Marc Thompson's Megatron brings a nice vicious aggressive and passionate edge too, his Sky-Byte is quite amusing too even if it's basically his Maxie voice. Billy Bob Thompson's Starscream is also excellent, his Wheeljack is decent and gets the job done. Mike Rose's Teletran-X always makes me smile listening to it, he brings a nice and funny take for this AI system. Heck I even like Deanna McGovern's raspy almost Nebula esque quality she brings to Shadow Striker, Jamie Lamchik's Arcee is very pleasant to listen to as well. Controversial opinion but I actually like Jake Tillman's Optimus, yeah it's a bit stilted but the fact a 20 year old can even do that voice is at least somewhat impressive.

    I really wish they had cast folks like Dan Green, Mike Pollock, Wayne Grayson, Greg Abbey, J. David Brimmer, Kevin T. Collins, Jon Avner, Daniel J. Edwards, Lisa Ortiz, Alyson Rosenfeld, Emily Bauer and Erica Schroeder amongst it's cast. Heck having Mike Sinterniklaas voice directing would've been ideal in all honesty. Lauren Gold's voice direction can be hit or miss, it's pretty obvious she's new to voice directing and we gotta start somewhere and a more experienced director should've helmed Cyberverse....but i thank my lucky stars Tom Wayland was not chosen as director, i think he would've done a genuinely worse job if anyone knows who he is or his work, the man half asses everything and frankly doesn't put his heart in his work.

    Maybe i'm more forgiving but it's at least nice to mix things up a bit, as much as I love the LA voice acting talent pool, we needed a change of pace for a bit. Though I really want the next show to return to Vancouver. It's been since 2006 after Cybertron wrapped up and man I'd like to hear Garry Chalk as Optimus again.
     
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  6. Gzstg

    Gzstg Well-Known Member

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    you not the only one that wants to here him again. the UT was my first Transformers series and the one I grew up with. I would give anything to hear Garry and David play Optimus and Megatron again.
     
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  7. Honorbound

    Honorbound Bayverse Optimus was in the right.

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    I may not be a fan of the particular cast - partly because I never got through the first couple of episodes - but I have absolutely no problem with Hasbro going with a non-union cast. Like @OmegaTaco Supreme, I've got no fondness for unions in general.
     
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  8. Beowulfx

    Beowulfx Beast Mode

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    I think the people who took the job knew that in advance and they made their decision. I've never understood how people can back a group that says they are protecting them but only if you pay them money. It makes no sense. "If" you pay us $500.00 in union dues we will make sure you get a 5% raise. Well, why not just let them keep the $500?
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2020
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  9. SaberPrime

    SaberPrime System Pride

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    I want to address a few points as a non-union actor myself.

    This is true and while I have been royally screwed by that in the past there's another part of this most people don't realize.

    The thing is being a part of the union is suppose to help you get more work but actually does the total opposite. Union actors can only work union jobs where as non-union actors can work ANYWHERE. This means that Bounder Media being a non-union company literally could not hire the original cast back even if they wanted to as it's ironically against Union rules to do so.

    And I believe at least one of the actors in the original cast said he'd be be willing to do it for less money but his SAG contract prevents that from happening. So SAG has essentially put these actors out of work by limiting what roles they're allowed to take.

    Working for less money is generally preferable when it means you have more freedom to take whatever jobs you want. And in a business where you don't know when you're going to land your next gig having that freedom generally means less worry about when your next pay check is going to come in. Being in the union you might get paid more per job but you also might find yourself out of work a lot more often and getting paid more isn't going to help you if you don't even have a job.

    It's kind of a toss up where you're trading job security for more pay when you join a union. Some actors I know actually try to cheat this system by working non-union jobs under a different name so they don't get caught violating their union contract. And of course I'm not going to name them for obvious reasons as they're not suppose to do that. They could have to pay some hefty fines and lose their union status if they ever got caught.

    Neither of these things have ANYTHING to do with what you were talking about before. A is actually the case the by the way as most are in fact union productions. B I don't know because I know absolutely nothing about that show and don't really care. So why are you even posting about this if you don't actually seem to care in the first place?

    Which again sucks but it's because they're SAG actors that they couldn't be brought back. Boulder Media is a new production company and doesn't have a union status yet so they literally can not hire union actors. Maybe at some point in the future they could apply for union status... which is another thing. A company or actor has to do so many productions before they can even qualify to join the union in the first place. It's a whole process and not easy to get into. I've looked into it and a lot of it I can't even understand. Most of what I'm saying is kind of the dumbed down simplified version as it was explained to me.

    Well one actually has nothing to do with the other. As I mentioned earlier Boulder Media is a new production company that hasn't earned Union Status yet so they can't hire union actors even if they wanted to.

    Rooster Teeth... as odd as this sounds from a company that started out making parody videos on the internet has been around so long now that they currently do have the ability to hire SAG actors and have already done so. Have you seen that cartoon they advertised last year where David Tennant is one of the leading actors who was featured in every single trailer. He's SAG and I still can't believe Rooster Teeth was able to hire him.

    Anyway... even though they're both under Hasbro that makes no difference. Like I worked for a company that ran two different theaters, one had Equity status the other one didn't. At least when I first started there that was the case but both theaters were Equity by the time I left there. SAG works in much the same way. Boulder Media and Rooster Teeth are completely separate from each other. Even though they're both making shows for Hasbro Boulder can't just leech off Rooster Teeth for SAG status, they actually have to make their own claim.
     
  10. Gordon_4

    Gordon_4 The Big Engine

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    Man, your Unions are screwy.
     
  11. Fenrys

    Fenrys Formerly Tigatron2002 TFW2005 Supporter

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    unions are relatively bloated an unnecessary, ive got no fondness for them. however whether or not a show uses union actors is of no concern to me as long as there is quality. the cyberverse cast is rough, but theres a lot of potential there
     
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  12. RetrogradeMercury

    RetrogradeMercury Well-Known Member

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    As someone in the game industry, I’ll have to oppose the blanket “unions are bad and unnecessary” take. Definitely a more nuanced reality especially across different fields of work. I would hope that as Hasbro continues its growth into the entertainment industry it will adopt union standards for its media companies.

    I do find the VA in Cyberverse to be pretty subpar. Not necessarily a result of non-union actors though.
     
  13. BigRed

    BigRed Well-Known Member

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    Non union is fine. It's not skeevy, it's just normal business. The problem is that the non-union cast they got has very weak quality control.
     
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  14. TheWarPathGuy

    TheWarPathGuy There's no power, greater than X.

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    They aren't bad actors. Some are hit and miss though. There are good NYC based voice actors like the 4Kids cast (who oddly aren't in the show.) So there are good non-union voice actors.
    Would I have preferred to see more experienced Canadian or American actors? Absolutely. But some of the actors on Cyberverse show impressive voice range and delivery. When I saw the first clip of the show I thought Bumblebee was voiced by Nolan North.
    As an actor who plans on auditioning soon, I do fear being in a union.
     
  15. Autovolt 127

    Autovolt 127 Get In The Titan, Prime!

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    Marc Thompson is the only VA in the Cyberverse cast who actually worked for 4Kids during their heyday. Everyone else is fairly new or newish.
     
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  16. TheWarPathGuy

    TheWarPathGuy There's no power, greater than X.

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    Oh, forgot him. He has the best performance and it shows.
     
  17. Nemesis Scar

    Nemesis Scar I kill with my heart.

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    I oppose it. It’s not “normal business” at all. Workers have a right to band together for their collective good.
     
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