So, to review: the voice acting of the game was cut because the voice actors wanted a higher rate than was originally agreed to, the original writer ran out on them and they had to start fresh, the lack of communication was a rookie mistake and the game behind that ridiculously scantly-clad graphic above us will be released before The Guardian’s Spell because its writer wrapped things up nice and neat. (Sekai Project Chief Responds To VNs Now’s Questions On The Guardian’s Spell 11/24/2014)
That is technically where things were left yesterday after we released the statement from Sekai Project’s CEO Raymond Qian. Since then, several people directly involved with the situation have reached out to us to clarify the record. While we are going to work through them all in good time, let’s start off with that first bit about the voice acting.
A major point for many before and after the release of our report is the status of the voice actors. This is understandable because voice acting was billed as a major feature during the Kickstater campaign. After publishing the story, Michaela Laws reached out to me with her own statement on what Mr. Qian had told us. And, for anyone wondering, Michaela Laws was hired by Winged Cloud to be their Voice Director: not only getting a cast but also negotiating their payments.
Ms. Laws offered a full statement from her side of this entire issue which includes a timeline of events different from Mr. Qian’s statement. Like Mr. Qian, I will let you read her full statement unedited then brief everyone after:
I’m Michaela Laws and I was the Voice Acting representative and casting director for The Guardian’s Spell. I read over the response written by Sekai Project about The Guardian’s Spell and I have to say I am appalled at what they claimed about the voice acting aspect of the game.
Before working with me, the creator worked with a colleague of mine who did indeed try to increase voice actor payroll from an agreed subtotal of $250 (which was to be divided among 6 main cast members (6 / $250 = $41 per actor, who would have to do 800-1000 lines each)) to something more appropriate for the job they asked. In response, the creator broke contact with my colleague and came directly to me.
A couple of days prior to February 26th, 2014 (this was 12 days after Seduce Me’s Kickstarter), I was approached by the creator of The Guardian’s Spell, asking me to work on the visual novel for voice over, to which I agreed. After a small conversation over Skype, the creator and I had an agreement on Feb. 26th, 2014: $450-600 subtotal for all actors involved in the game. 6 actors / $450-600 = $75-100 per actor.
While this is still beyond unacceptable within itself, I held the auditions on this date immediately after the agreement and cast the actors while giving them the knowledge that the pay is divided of an estimated subtotal. They agreed as long as they would be given a script and time to work.
Now, being that the voice acting was only to happen at the success of the kickstarter, I had asked each actor to advertise the funding project so it could indeed be successful and so the actors involved could be paid. With the agreement of $450-600 ($75-100 per actor) at the end of the Kickstarter Deadline with no plans to increase payment, we had to wait for the script. The first couple of weeks went by and we were told that the script would not be done for a while. I, being the representative, replied saying that they could take as much time as they needed as long as we got a script and were given both time to do all of the required lines and were given our agreed pay at the end of recording. Then, after the fact, when we tried contacting him again, we received no word from the creator. After months of no contact, I directly contacted the writer of The Guardian’s Spell, who replied saying that the script was still unfinished, to which I understood, but after a second check in with the writer, there was lost contact.
At no point in time did we request or demand any increase in pay that was not agreed to before the publishing of the Kickstarter. It was cleared that, upon the success of the Kickstarter, the voice actors would receive $75-100 each ($450-600 total all together) in exchange for both providing the voices in the full game and advertising the kickstarter on their social media pages. The only thing we have requested after the Kickstarter’s success was slightly increased time to voice the lines to a script we never received.
Thank you for taking the time to read over this statement. I apologize if this adds more questions, but I did not want the actors I cast to be shed in a bad light for something we did not do in the first place. Please understand that we did try to work with Winged Cloud to make voice acting happen for the game– some of the actors are still willing to voice in it should the game even be completed– but they broke contact with us and made it clear that voice acting was no longer part of their plan without directly telling us so.
Now, just like with Mr. Qian I will refrain from issuing opinions or speculation in this particular forum. VNs Now is simply dedicated to open and full disclosure on this entire matter. I also did not reach out to either Winged Cloud or Sekai Project before the publication of this story, but if either party reaches out to us with a response we will publish it. We also have a document containing correspondences between Winged Cloud and Michaela Laws. At this current hour, I’ve determined it isn’t necessary to publish that document. But, in the name of full disclosure, I am mentioning here that it is in my possession.
This has been JP3 reporting for VNN.