ASK MARC #5:
Slating: What's The Best Way?
Plus: Urban Imaging And Agents ...
By Marc Cashman
Voice Actor & Coach
© Marc Cashman 2012
This is a monthly Q&A column on VoiceOverXtra, where I answer a veritable smorgasbord of voice over questions. If you'd like to pop a question to me, please see my contact info below.
@ Slating Your Files
Q: How should I slate my audition for a client? Should I slate the recording file mp3 and also record my name and an intro before I record my audition? Ė Caroline B, Doncaster, Yorkshire, England
A: Unless your agent(s) stipulate otherwise, a simple slate is best.
For instance, "This is Caroline B." Or you might say the name of the product/service: "For Mighty Dog, this is Caroline B."
Either of these verbal slates are what my agents ask for.
But one in particular stipulates that I place the slate at the end of the take. They also stipulate only one take per file, with two submissions max.
As far as a file-naming template, there are many iterations. Each agent asks me for a different file name, and I make sure to follow each template carefully. I pay attention to upper and lower case, spaces (or lack of them), hyphens and underscores.
The reason: if you can't follow a simple file-naming template, how can you be expected to follow myriad directions in a session?
Some ask for Your Name_Product.mp3 or Product-Your Name.mp3. Some ask for Your Name-Product.mp3 or Last Name-Product.mp3.
If there are no specific instructions on file-naming, a good default would be: Your Name-Product.mp3, or Product-Your Name.mp3.
@ Imaging For Urban Radio
Q: I love your column and the straight talk you provide. I thought I'd ask if you had some tips on imaging technique and marketing for urban broadcasters. Iím looking at staying instep with current production format /techniques, learning the vernacular for this type of niche work, i.e., what are liners, stingers, air checks and drops?And methods in terms of presenting myself to the gatekeepers as an option. In Canada, where I am, most if not all the commercial stations donít produce the imaging - they get that from outside independent sources. -Earl M., Mississauga, ON, Canada
A: A colleague, Harry Legg (yes, thatís his real name) specializes in Radio Imaging, and hereís what he says:
"That's a really broad question. Is it "how-to" as far as performing the actual VO or the"how-to" on the actual production techniques/wizardry?
"A good industry trade magazine on radio production/imaging can be found here: http://www.rapmag.com.
"For VO, classes in Promo/Trailer would be the most similar to radio imaging.
"For the technology wizardry, you could learn on your own through trial and error in conjunction with interning somewhere where you can observe and learn. But any radio station will require you to receive school credit for the internship, in order for them to have limited corporate liability for your presence in their facility.
"Seek out top producers at your favorite stations and send them your demo. Most will be willing to give a few minutes of their time to provide you with a critique."
(Note: A collage of Harry's work is at his website, www.harrylegg.com.)
@ When To Seek Agents ...
Q: At what point should I look for an agent? Ė Betty G., Silver Lake, CA
A: When youíve completed producing your VO demo and have a website or landing page set up.
If thereís a way for you to complete a second demo - narration - or a third - animation/character - thatíd be even better, as it would make you a much more attractive"packageĒ for an agent.
This is all under the assumption that youíre ready to make your demo, Betty. Iíve worked with many students who had previously made their demo prematurely, and it turned out that their skills werenít up to snuff. An agent can hear that a mile away.
So make sure that youíre competitive with other demos out there, and train with the best instructors you can find. Plus, make sure that your production values are competitive. Thereís a huge range of quality in demo production, and many times what you pay is what you get.
ABOUT MARC ...
Marc Cashman creates and produces copy and music advertising for radio and television. Winner of over 150 advertising awards, he also instructs voice acting of all levels through his classes, The Cashman Cache of Voice-Acting Techniques in Los Angeles.
Your Daily Resource For Voice-Over Success