Tuesday, July 17, 2012

To Slate or Not to Slate?

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 this site & 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