Slating is not a practice that I’m into. Unless, of course, the instructions specifically request it. Outside of that, I may include a slate if my audition includes more than one take. In that case a simple, “Marc Scott. Three reads,” is all I’d ever include.
Last week I participated in a casting and had the opportunity to review the auditions. What I heard in the slates blew my mind. It’s from that eye opening experience that I give you…
7 Deadly Sins Of Slating
1) Giving a sales pitch: You do not have to sell yourself in your slate. You have to give your name. Sell yourself in your written proposal or phone conversation with the client (if selling yourself is even necessary).
2) Reciting your resume: One slate (well over a minute) included a long history of the talents radio experience, voice over experience, client list, etc. And that was BEFORE they ever even got to their actual audition!
3) Using a voice other than your own: How embarrassing would it be for you to get hired based on your slate (because it’s the first audio the client heard) only to have to explain to them that it wasn’t your voice.
4) Using a weird character voice: If you’re a professional, keep it professional. Use a normal voice. The one exception might be if you’re auditioning for a cartoon character.
5) Slate when client specifies no slate: If the instructions specify “No Slates” then guess what, you shouldn’t include a slate, regardless of how essential you may think it is.
6) Giving technical specs: There’s no need to line list your studio specs, audio specs, and every other spec you think the client might care about. At least, there’s no reason for it to be in your slate. If you want to tell them, post it on your site and give them the option to view it.
7) Overproducing it: A slate is a slate. Simple. Say your name. It doesn’t need effects, reverb, stingers, bursts and blasts. This is not radio imaging. It’s not a jingle. It’s you saying your name.
Keep It Simple
I’m not here to make anyone feel stupid. I’m not trying to hurt anyones feelings. I’m just offering some insight as a talent who was worked both sides of the table. As the voice and the seeker.
I’ve worked with enough clients in nearly 20 years of doing this, that I know what they’re looking for. One of those things is not long, drawn out slates that take up time. They want to hear your voice. Reading their script. That’s all!