Vox Daily The Official Voices.com Blog

Slate Your Name!

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

March 17, 2008

Comments (24)

Man with paper bag on his head

Do the people you just auditioned for know who you are?

If you didn't slate your name, chances are they don't remember!

Discover more about slating and how the simple act of slating your name in an audition or on your voice over demo can go a long way.

Slate, Please

Slating your name, whether in person or online, is part of the auditioning process.

What does it mean to slate your name?

Simply put, it's reading your name aloud prior to performing the audition copy so that the casting director, or decision maker, knows who they are listening to. A slate can also foreshadow what the listener will hear as well as potentially surprise the listener depending on how the slate is executed.

Fringe Benefits of Slating

One side benefit of slating your name is that people in the press or podcasters will instantly know how to say your name.

Having a slate could help to prevent gaffes (mistakes) and embarrassing moments for people trying to contact you, promote you, hire you over the phone or reference you on a program.

As someone who works in public relations, I appreciate hearing slates for names I haven't encountered before, especially if the pronunciation isn't typical or if the name is of foreign origin. I've had my last name mispronounced, misspelled and confused so many times it isn't funny, so when I tell you to slate, it's definitely in your best interest.

People, whether in the media or otherwise, mean well and they want to say your name right the first time:

Give them the opportunity to ace it by having a slate accompany your demo!

Slating at Live Auditions

When you are auditioning in person it's safe to say that you yourself will provide the slating.

The slate can be as brief as stating your name, or, your slate could also include the name of the character you are auditioning for if there are multiple roles on the table.

What Makes for a Good Slate?

There are a couple schools of thought where slating is concerned, for example, do you slate in character? as yourself? etc.

Voice over expert Pat Fraley has some excellent ideas on this topic. Pat is one to take his own medicine and has an awesome slate preceding his voice over demos. Check them out here.

Slating for Online Auditions

Now, when you are auditioning online using digital audio recording technology, you have a couple of options:

Slating Options for Online Auditions

1. You can slate your own name
2. Enlist a colleague slate your name

Many voice actors who incorporate slating into their promotional and auditioning techniques choose the second option and have one of their VO pals, usually of the opposite gender, record their name in an MP3 file that they then use to introduce their demos and auditions.

In the majority of instances, the slate works in your favor... however, sometimes the talent who slates your name ends up getting the job!

This is why it is wise to work with a voice actor of the opposite sex.

I've heard of people opting to have their name slated by a voice actor who has a different accent altogether from their own. For instance, if you are in the US, consider a talent from the UK of the opposite gender to slate your name.

Above all, the slate is supposed to prepare the audience and enhance your performance, not take away from it.

Have Any Thoughts About Slating?

If you have any comments or wacky experiences you'd like to share, be sure to comment!

Best wishes,

Stephanie

P.S. As is mentioned in the comments below, David Rodwell has donated a sound effect for slating. You can download the slate sound effect here. Thank you David!

©©©iStockphoto.com/Jarek Szymanski

Related Topics: Accent, auditioning, auditions, gigs, how to, pat fraley, slate, slating, techniques, voice acting, voice over jobs, voice over work, voice overs, voice work, voiceovers, voices.com


Comments


    I couldn't resist commenting!! I cannot count the number of times I have received positive feedback from listeners of my demos regarding the slates I use. My two daughters, Olivia and Samantha, have been slating my auditions for years. Most recently, Samantha (7) has been slating. I have always mentioned to folks that they should use a female slate if you are a male and vice versa.

    Why do I have my daughters perform the slate? Although there are good points on both sides of the "slate spectrum" (some feel you should slate in the tone of the voice you are about to use in the audition, some say you should simply slate your name normally etc.) my personal experience using my daughters has been nothing but positive. Honestly, who would have an issue with a little girl slating for her daddy! It's a total win-win! My girls have actually gotten work after folks heard their slate!

    I'm not trying to be "cute" with the slate, rather I am hoping to catch the client off-guard a bit... grab their attention. So far, it has worked extremely well.

    Posted by:

      What are best ways of slating?

      jj

      http://corporatepresenter.blogspot.com

      Posted by:

        Great suggestion, Stephanie. Thx.

        About to enter a new voice genre. After all my years of corporate, soft skills, sports and medical VO work, I was asked to audition voicing some kids books by a major publisher and they liked the audition so will be starting work on that shortly. I guess all the bedtime stories we read to our kids can pay off in unexpected ways!

        Cheers!

        David

        Posted by:

          Slating is a great idea. I like it so much that I took a couple of pieces of wood and recorded a "SLATE" sound effect. It is of course a tiny (12 K) MP3 file.

          So I make my announcement "David Rodwell for ABC Plumbing Take 1 (Slate Sound)" If it helps anybody, I am attaching the MP3 Slate Sound.

          Anyone is welcome to use it.

          David

          Posted by:

            Thank you David for sending in the slate marker! I've edited it in as a post script for anyone who would like to download it :)

            Stephanie

            Posted by:

              Hi Jeremy,

              Thank you for your comment and I hope you are well. It's hard to say what the best way to slate is as everyone has their own opinion on the subject.

              Can anyone help Jeremy out by sharing their preferred method as a comment?

              Thanks guys,

              Stephanie

              Posted by:

                Stephanie,

                Yes I believe slating auditions is important... almost mandatory. Therefore it's interesting to see clients who request no slates on auditions. How do they keep track?

                MLF

                Posted by:
                • Mike Forrester
                • March 18, 2008 2:53 PM

                  Hi Mike,

                  Thank you for making that observation and for your comment.

                  Clients who don't ask for slates generally are unaware that it is a possibility or a standard practice in voice over. Slating is a foreign concept to companies hiring talent online for the first time, however, it should be automatic for voice actors and clients shouldn't have to request a slate.

                  At Voices.com, your audition accompanies your name, proposal, quote and a link to your website so clients know who they are listening to when they are listening to a demo.

                  If a client downloads the audio samples for future reference, that's where a demo that may have an ambiguous file name (i.e. commercial-demo.mp3) and no slate to identify the voice artist may become an issue.

                  Slating is a good safeguard in that sense, too. If you slate, there's no guesswork and people who are listening to the demos off the site won't have a reason to confuse or forget whose demo they are hearing.

                  Naming the file appropriately, i.e. firstname-lastname-company-audition.mp3 is also another good way to ensure your demo is branded properly.

                  Good question!

                  Stephanie

                  Posted by:

                    I would like to add the following comments regarding slating. First of all; another benefit of having the slate come up first on your audition is that the listener can adjust the volume of your audition or demo prior to the actual copy - in case your mp3 is of low level compared to other submissions.

                    The 2nd is a bit of advice from me as a VO coach: always slate in character - with the same energy and voice style as you will be giving the script. This acts as a warm up for both performer and listener. The performer will be "warmed up" to give a better read, and the listener may be able to decide sooner if they like your voice.

                    Roy Yokelson - Antland Productions
                    Producer/Director, Sound Designer, Voice Coach

                    Posted by:

                      Hi Stephanie,

                      I slate about 90% of my auditions - exceptions include those clients who specifically request NO slating.

                      Now, I've heard some controversy regarding slating - some casting directors want to get to the meat of the audition asap because time is precious and they need to get through a lot of auditions but also because so many voice actors go on and on in their slates, "Hello my name is so and so, my phone number is.., this is an audition for.... etc.."

                      I keep my slate very short but as a result of hearing this, I began slating at the END of my auditions rather than the beginning. I'd be curious to know however whether there is a preference for slating at the beginning or at the end. I suppose there are advantages to both - if you slate at the end, your name is the last thing they hear and remember (especially if they liked your audition) which could be a good thing :-)

                      Maggie

                      Posted by:
                      • Maggie
                      • March 28, 2008 1:30 PM

                        Slating auditions is the usual format except when the audio engineer, casting director, or producer tells you NOT to say a name or agent at front. Online auditions...yes you should slate. However, saying your name on a voiceover demo is considered VERY OLD FASHIONED and OUT OF DATE and marks you as OUT OF DATE. That's what many agents nationwide tell me... and I take my direction from them, because I have clients from all over the world flying or driving to Dallas to work with me on demos in my studio. I always ask the qustion "What does your agent want?" before doing a demo and often call that agent to talk. Mostly, no one wants a slated name at front of demo. That was the procedure in the 1980s but then we stopped doing it. As for "being chatty' at front of an audition.. DON'T. It annoys producers. They don't want "cutesy and time-consuming stuff" they just want to hear the READ of their copy. At least, that's what producers tell me!

                        Posted by:

                          Do I have a collection of stating tricks, I've stolen-I mean-learned from my colleagues. Know that there are no rules, just notions. Please check my FREE LESSONS page at my website. Look for a lesson entitled, "Shameless Tricks."

                          http://patfraley.com/FreeLessons.htm

                          Posted by:

                            Maybe things are different this side of the pond, but most producers in the UK hate to hear slates before a demo and consider it really naff.

                            Posted by:

                              I'm on the fence about this. So here are some thoughts from the other side. One of my local agents used to have all the talent slate their name and the agent's name before each audition i.e. "this is Michael Ricci for 'agent's name'. Although this would allow the client to easily track our auditions from the other agencies and private auditions, most complained about the slates. They said when listening back to large numbers of auditions they wanted to be able to pop back and forth from one to another to quickly compare each voice and the slates were a huge disruption to that process. So now after years of doing it, we no longer slate our auditions. If you title your mp3 with both your name and the part name there should be no problem for the client to keep track of who's who. And why is it important for the client to be able to pronounce the talents name? If a long term relationship develops this will play out naturally.

                              Posted by:

                                I never slate...unless the client specifically requests it. I only have a few seconds of the client's attention as they sift through all of the auditions, so I don't want to take a chance of having them miss out on hearing my read if they didn't like they way I or someone else said my name. I do include my name when naming the files, and that seems to work just fine.

                                Great topic & responses!
                                ~Janice Downes

                                Posted by:

                                  I believe the slate is very important, but I choose to put it at the end for a couple of reasons. It allows the client to hear the "read" right out of the gate. Also, most slates are voiced in "one particular manner" which may not reflective of the read to follow. In other words a straight monotone slate into a requested upbeat hardsell spot. I wouldn't want the client to hear the slate and immediately hit the stop button.

                                  John M. Thomas

                                  Posted by:

                                    Thank you all for your ideas and feedback about slating!

                                    John, that's an interesting way to do it. Thank you for sharing. Has anyone else found the method John described for slating helpful or successful?

                                    Best wishes,

                                    Stephanie

                                    Posted by:

                                      I have used my husband Shawn to slate for me and let me tell you that he has received comments from others saying that he has a great voice and it has also worked for me,so slate all the way.
                                      shawn & scharon

                                      Posted by:
                                      • Scharon Millington
                                      • October 3, 2009 8:59 PM

                                        Good Day,
                                        I just happened on to this article and wanted to say thanks for the advice. It seems like every time I am on the site I find something else that opens my eyes.
                                        I have one question, which may have already been asked and answered. Should DEMOS as well as auditions be slated? Thanks and my appreciation in advance for any feedback.

                                        Posted by:

                                          Hi Tyrone,

                                          Thank you for commenting and for joining the conversation!

                                          With regard to slating for demos, it's an interesting idea but one that isn't mandatory or industry standard.

                                          What slating on your demo could do, however, is set your demo up in a polished fashion and help those who are listening to remember who you are.

                                          Having someone of the opposite sex slate for you is recommended as their voice will complement your voice and won't likely compete with it (your voice).

                                          Best wishes,

                                          Stephanie

                                          Posted by:

                                            This is simple yet brilliant and PRICELESS information! Plus the comments others have made, especially having someone of the opposite sex slate your auditions is a great idea, what great ideas. You've done it again, Stephanie! :)

                                            Posted by:

                                              I couldn't agree more about the benefits of slating! It's just that much more professional and, of course, its basic marketing 101.

                                              I'm lucky to have a real classy one for my demo and website ... my wife is British (great accent!) and has had plenty of voiceover experience as well.

                                              With an intro like hers, its hard not to pay attention!

                                              Posted by:

                                                Am I missing something here? OK, so everybody slates their work, ostensibly to "protect" their recording. But how does simply saying your name at the top of the recording do that? Even the most basic audio dolt can chop your name off and get on with the theft. There must be something I don't get. I usually "bury" a secret word in a specific place in the script. At least that makes it a little more of a challenge to edit out... if that's what someone wants to do. Someone explain this to me?

                                                Posted by:
                                                • JAY LLOYD
                                                • March 8, 2011 7:41 PM

                                                  Hi Jay,

                                                  Thanks for commenting. Slating is traditional when auditioning for a role. This is how both voice actors and on-camera actors traditionally start an audition. Times are indeed changing though. With online auditions the name of the voice actor and the ability to contact them automatically comes with the audition demo. It’s possible that these days slating may be more a matter of personal preference for both the client and the talent.

                                                  All the best,
                                                  Lin

                                                  Posted by:

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