To Slate, or Not to Slate? A Common Voice Over Question

Posted on March 25, 2010 by

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There are varying opinions as to why or why not someone should slate in an online audition. The truth is… with any creative field, you never have a definitive ‘right way’, but there is always a definite ‘wrong way’.

This week, we examine ‘slating’ and why or why it is not done.

Why?

  • It was a common practice when working offline, and going to studios to slate names before one began an audition.
  • The way auditions were collected called for it to happen this way.
  • Working in any new environment, such as online casting, it is common to do what you were once taught as a business practice.

Why is it NOT done as frequently now?

  • Working with a website involves a new way of collecting auditions. Your name is right there on the interface.
  • A marketing tip when working online is that if you can offer a solution to a problem in one mouse-click, and less time, the buyer feels like a genius for finding you.
  • Attention spans run shorter, online. In general, it takes somewhere between 5 and 20 seconds before they have concluded that the mouse-click was a failure, and it is best to stop listening. Should the first 10 seconds of an audition be a slate, or are you spending time telling them something they already know or will find out?

There are always those who can say, ‘I slate, and I get work often online’ and those who do not slate and get work. So what do you do now?

Think a moment about things already happening now:

  • Slates that offer personal commentary, or a long explanation into what the person is about to hear, usually leave a voice seeker bored before they hear the audition.
  • Feedback received from voice talent on Voice123 who have posted work as voice seekers, have expressed that ‘techno slates’ damage chances with the client because the first voice the client should hear is the talent’s voice.
  • Many who audition are in the belief that they are always auditioning for the person doing the hiring. In fact, most voice seekers are posting the voice over work as a 3rd party to present to a client. This means, the auditions being presented to the client represent the job poster’s ability to find voice talent. Any slate leading to the question, ‘When will the audition start?’, may do more harm than good.

A final note… a creative talent always has to face that question, ‘Is what I am intending to do being received like I had intended?’. It is a tough question to face because creativity comes from the mind and heart, and the anonymous atmosphere online allows for people to be more opinionated than they would be face to face. It is always important never to take someone’s business decision personally.

In a ‘do-it-yourself voice talent’ environment, each voice talent has to offer a bit of online customer service by knowing what you do not need to slate to them, if you even should, or looking at the track record of whether or not it has been a successful voice over practice online.

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Steven Lowell
Public Relations Manager
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Steven’s BlogTwitter: @stevenNYC123