Slate Your Name!
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.
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!
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!