When recording an audition, the very first thing you want to lay down is a clear, precise and brief slate. Your slate is there to not only let the casting person know who’s speaking, but also to set the stage for your audition. Oh, and there’s one very important aspect of your slate to always remember.
A couple of rules about slating (that can be altered to taste, but try to follow them when starting out).
If you’re the only role in the production, a simple statement of your name is just fine. Example: “Hi, this is David H. Lawrence XVII.”
If you’re auditioning for more than one role, add the role to your slate. Example: “Hi, this is David H. Lawrence XVII as your announcer,” or “Hi, this is David H. Lawrence XVII as the customer.”
If you’re auditioning for a production in which there are more than one roles that are being cast with your gender, then also add the role to your slate. For instance, if you’re a woman, and there are three roles for women and two for men, make sure to say which role your audition is for.
(And, of course, never include more than one audition in an MP3 file – they may not know there’s more to listen to after hearing the first audition.)
When slating for a character read, don’t slate in character, and don’t slate in your normal voice – rather, slide into your character. Example: “(in normal friendly voice) Hi, this is David H. Lawrence XVII (begin to morph into a grizzled military commander) as General Mordecai Howitzer.”
You can also tail slate (slating at the end of the audition), especially for longer auditions and for auditions where the casting entity warns you not to slate. This is a bit shortsighted on their part, but you want to accomodate. So, launch right into your audition, and at the end, offer this: “I’m David H. Lawrence XVII as your announcer.”
Finally, the one aspect to always remember about your slate: no matter what audition is for, and no matter what the tone of the audition, be it happy, serious, dark, comical, a luxury read, whatever…put a nice smile on your face and make your slate friendly and nice. Your slate is your first impression: let them know you’ll be a dream to work with, not surly, or entitled, or arrogant. make your slate friendly and nice, and help them say “yes” to booking you.
Hope this helps.