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How to Slate

PLEASE SLATE – What the?

Welcome back! Let’s talk about slating. Well for starters, what is a Slate? In simple terms, when actors a slate, they are providing a brief introduction of themselves before diving into the audition. Here is what I mean.

You Booked an Audition…Now What?

So you booked an auction? Perfect! That is the goal, right? Out of hundreds, sometimes thousands, of submissions you were picked by the Casting Director to shoot your shot at the role.

What do you do next? Most of the time audition requests are extremely detailed and will provide all information the CD (Casting Director) is looking for, this includes slate requirements. (Just an FYI’ll talk about Audition Breakdowns at a later date).

However, there are instances when a CD does not specify their slate needs, in this case, you will stick to the industry standard of slate. Make sure you sound welcoming! A slate is the first impression for a Casting Director. Be relaxed, comfortable, natural, and avoid sounding robotic.

How to Slate for an Audition – Basic Industry Standard:
  • Name
  • Location
  • Representaion
  • Height
  • Age (IF under 18 years of age)

Casting Director Slate

Ok, so your audition request includes specific slate instructions. What do you do? In short, you do them. Sounds cheeky but true. As I said, I will address Auditon Breakdowns at a later time but for now, I cannot stress enough READ EVERY SINGLE DETAIL FROM YOUR CASTING DIRECTOR.

Below I have included an example of a recent audition I received.

Casting Director Slate Example:
CD Audition Slate Request
CD Slate Request

As you can see, this request was straight and to the point. The CD requested Name, Agency, City, if you have an At-Home recording studio, and what type of equipment you use.

Although her requests might seem strange, the last two bullet points pertain to the project and were needed for the production company.

Other Common Request on Slates

Local Hire:

It is not uncommon to see local hire status requests within a slate. This just means the Production Company wants to know if you’re willing to work as a local hire.

What is a Local Hire? When talent is willing to work as a local to filming locations. In other words, if talent does not live in, let’s say Dallas, then they are willing to pay for transport, hotel, and food throughout production.

Vacicination Status:

Let’s face it, we are in a post-pandemic world, and unfortunately, that means Production Companies have to keep the cast and crew protected throughout filming. This includes, but is not limited to, continuous Covid testing regardless of a vaccine.

With that being said, I have seen many requests coming into identity vaccine status within slates. All this means is to state:

  • “I do have the Covid Vaccine”
  • “No, I do not have the Covid vaccine”

If you are not vaccinated, and it is because of health-related issues or religion, make sure to include this within your statement. 

  • “No, I do not have the Covid Vaccine. I have a medical condition preventing this, and will provide documentation as required.
  • “No, I do not have the Covid Vaccine due to my religion. I will provide documentation when required.
Profiles & Full Body Shots:

In most slates, facial profiles are requested, along with full-body pictures. You can film these as requests are submitted or have them done professionally each time you update headshots.

In short, profiles are filmed like this:

  • Turn to the right and hold for 3 seconds.
  • Turn to face the front and hold for 3 seconds.
  • Turn to face the left and hold for three seconds.

See the photo sample below. Remember this will be filmed, not still shots.

How to Film Slates

When it comes to camera angles and direction with slates, make sure your shot is Close Up. This is an industry-standard technique unless stated within your Casting Directors notes. 

Close Up Slate
Close Up Slate

That’s A Wrap

That’s it for Slates. Pretty straightforward. A slate is an introduction to who you are before having to dive into a character. Pay attention to your CD’s notes, read every word sent your way and do the best you can! Natural is best, followed closely with welcoming.

Be sure to check out my Amazon Picks for my favorite at-home recording equipment!

I’ll see yall next week!

– Green Actors Guil