Definition of guild: An association of people for mutual aid or the pursuit of a common goal.
The earliest types of guild were formed as confraternities of workers [...] An important result of the guild framework was the emergence of universities at Bologna, Paris, and Oxford around the year 1200; they originated as guilds of students as at Bologna, or of masters as at Paris.
Many countries have one or more guilds for actors, each of them with their own history behind their need for being created. Whether it was for on-camera, theater, voiceover, or broadcast, there was a process in place that suited the ecosystem of casting directors, office buildings, production studios, agencies, breakdown services, managers etc. Union contracts assisted in providing the small group of individuals attempting this career with higher wages and benefits. There were defined standards, places to audition and perform, things you always do, and things you never say.
So what happened to these seemingly-simple glory days? Are they gone, and should we all run for the hills in panic? No.
On-camera and on-stage acting has not changed significantly. The process is almost the same today as it was decades ago. Voice acting, however, is very different today. Most voice talents have a home studio, the work of agents and casting directors has been automated by the likes of Voice123, SmartCast and Voi
The objective of an union, guild, or association is to obtain higher pay, better working conditions, and increase the number employees an employer hires. By shying away from technology and trying to maintain a union model that is outdated, these groups appear to be hiding the sun behind their hands.
Isn’t it time for a new guild of voice artists? Other countries have associations focused exclusively on radio artists (Asociación Colombiana de Locutores, Sociedad Argentina de Locutores, etc.). The US has the National Association of Broadcasters, but it encompasses all of broadcasting and is heavily focused on newscasters. Although this may be a step towards the right direction, such associations will need to encompass much more than radio, TV, and news which is only a tiny fraction of the voiceover industry. Change is nothing new to anyone. AFTRA was once AFRA, before television was invented, and now, there is a new frontier for work.