24 December 2019
In October, Equity held a groundbreaking and hugely successful event at London’s Graeae Theatre around inclusivity of D/deaf and disabled performers in video games. The purpose of the event was to introduce Equity’s D/deaf and disabled members to work opportunities in games, and for the games industry to meet union members and explore questions of inclusivity and diversity. The day was set up by Equity’s Screen and New Media and the D/deaf and Disabled Members Committees.
After a full morning devoted to professional workshops in motion capture with Ryan Mercier of Target3D and voice acting with Camilla Laxton and her team from Chatterbox, union members were joined in the afternoon by games industry professionals for panels and discussions.
An industry panel chaired by Screen and New Media chair Laurence Bouvard, with panelists who included Dr. Jo Twist, CEO of UKie; Tim Hunter from BAFTA; Jessica Jeffries, games casting director of the CDA; games writer Andy Walsh of the Writers’ Guild; and Megan Clarke, studio director at OMUK, examined the current state of today’s games industry. This was followed by a panel of D/deaf and Disabled Committee members, chaired by Phoebe Kemp, and including Dan Edge, Cindy-Jane Armbruster, and Chloe Clarke, who spoke of their experiences, the unique skills they could bring, and also some of the challenges they face in getting work.
The workshops and discussions generated an enormous amount of positive energy among both union members and the games industry professionals, with steps put into place to take things forward on all fronts. Further member workshops are being planned for the future, and among the games professionals, there was a commitment to examining policies around inclusivity and making work more accessible. Overall, the day was a roaring success; as one attendee put it, “Change happened here today.”