Rethinking Slating Strategies on P2P Voiceover Sites

Ever since entering the online voiceover marketplaces like Voices.com, Voice123.com, and others, it has been my standard practice to slate my auditions with a simple name tag at the beginning. I even devised an impactful standardized slate file with a brief sound effect mixed in to catch the attention of voice seekers from the moment they clicked "play."

Recently, after consulting with a client on the selection of several other voices for his project, and after listening to hundreds of auditions from the P2P sites as part of that process, I began to question the wisdom of my slating strategy. After just a dozen or so auditions, I found myself thinking, "just get to the read, already!" The short name slates were one thing, but so many talent were taking 10-15 seconds to offer a personalized hello that I began to feel myself losing valuable time to the process. I just wanted to hear the audition, decide whether or not to mark the talent for the shortlist, and move on. By the end of the process, I may well have been subconsciously biased against those talents who were taking up my time with long-winded slates.
This led me to reconsider my own practice of slating nearly all auditions. So, I conducted an experiment. For the next two weeks, I continued slating my auditions, and tracked contacts from voice seekers, bookings, and (on Voices.com, VO Planet, and bodalgo,) "likes" and "favorites," received from the major P2P sites during this time. As expected, my numbers remained steady, having changed nothing about my approach to auditioning. The interesting bit is what happened when I subsequently stopped slating at all over the next two weeks....
With no slates, the second two week period saw the following statistical changes:
A 25% increase in "likes" and "favorites" on the sites that have such features.
A 10% increase in direct contacts from voice seekers
and most importantly....
An 8% increase in bookings.
Those of you who are familiar with my presence in the online marketplace know that I do a LOT of auditions, (probably 150+ in an average week,) and book substantial work from the P2Ps, (5-10 NEW clients per week.) So, for me, these numbers were statistically significant, and directly impacted my revenue. More importantly, they were dramatic enough that I have now substantially altered my slating practice.
My new philosophy: Slate only for those clients who A.) specifically request it, or B.) seem sufficiently new to P2Ps, or non-corporate, that a slate might actually be necessary to assist them in remembering who you are, or who might positively react to a slate as a touch of professionalism.
In practice, this means that I have gone from slating 85% of my auditions, to slating around 20%. Evidence that I believe I have found an answer to the age old question of To Slate or Not to Slate.
As always, best of luck to everyone for continued success, and don't forget to check out jmcvoiceover.blogspot.com & my voiceover webpage for information on my Skype-based classes that can help you maximize your bookings on the Pay-to-Play voiceover sites!
J. Michael Collins
jmichael@jmcvoiceover.com

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Comment by Jamie Lee Michael Whalen on September 22, 2012 at 10:46pm
Wow!!! So seriously...even having a female voice on my auditions just saying my name and that's it is too much unless requested. I only did it because of the constant reminders on voices and voice 123 saying to remember to slate your name in your audition to help with the selection process. I am stunned. I thought I was a common practice in the industry and everyone did it. I'm lucky in that my wife has a great voice and with some reverb and doubling up her name slate came out great. I will definitely think twice about doing it right now!!!
Comment by Tom Dusenbery on August 9, 2012 at 7:31pm

Hi J -

Thanks for posting the results of your exhaustive study.  It confirms what my gut feeling was about slating.

Also, 150 auditions a week?  How do you manage that and have tome to actually work?  I'm spent at like 30. 

Thanks for any advice or secrets.

TD

Comment by Tom Dusenbery on August 7, 2012 at 1:04pm

Hi J -

Thanks for the valuable assessment of the "slating" issue and for your exhaustive personal research on the matter.  Your findings seem to line up with my gut feeling on the issue and with other opinions I've heard from both talent and producers.

I'm fairly new to the business (almost 2 yrs) after a 30-year career working on "the other side of the glass" as an ad agency and freelance video producer.

Also, your 150 auditions a week regime is jaw-dropping.  I'm pretty much spent after a week of 30.  How do you find the time to schedule actual work?

At any rate, keep up the good work.  You're  areal pro and I'm glad I stumbled onto your blog.

TD

Comment by Del Dozier on July 25, 2012 at 8:14pm

Interesting analysis, Michael!  I've been slating at the end instead of the beginning of my auditions, as I heard the same thing from others that it's best not to waste the few precious seconds the client is listening with a slate...

On another subject, I noticed you said you are submitting through VO Planet.  How is that going for you?  I just signed up last week and haven't seen anything new posted on their site for the whole week.  Is this site legit?

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