If you are new to the voiceover industry, then there are undoubtedly many terms and phrases being thrown at you that are not at all familiar. Some of those, you will learn as you go, and will be fine to do so. However, ‘slate’ is a word that should be readily familiar to you from the start, as it is one of the most important ways to build your brand and increase recognition of your name.
Slate: The announcing of a name or assigned number at the start of a recording. Often includes the name of the character being portrayed as well.
The slate is helpful for the casting- or directing teams, as it helps them stay organized throughout the process, and ensures that they are crediting a work to the right actor or actress. However, it can also be very beneficial for the voiceover talent. This provides the perfect opportunity to put your name (your brand) in the mind of the casting director. This also ensures that it is clear which part you are reading for or what type of reading you’re are performing. Finally, it is a great way to ensure that a potential employer has a sample of your natural voice.
It's obvious that slating is good practice, so be sure that you are doing it correctly. Here are a few things to consider:
Keep it Light This is just an introduction. It shouldn’t be long, wordy, or stiff. But, you should also sound professional.
Don’t Speak in Any Voice But Your Own The slate should absolutely be spoken in your own, natural voice. This applies, regardless of what type of voiceover you will be performing in the recording.
Leave a Pause It is great that you can change your voice, tone, and pitch at a moment’s notice, but you should still leave enough of a pause for the person listening to process what you said. Therefore, take a breath before you begin the actual take.
Practice There is nothing wrong with practicing slating. It is important and the first thing the director will hear, so you want it to sound professional. Give it a take or two (or more) before you do the actual recording.