By Stephanie Ciccarelli
July 12, 2007
Bob Souer is one busy voice talent and family man, a family man who also involves his entire family in his voice over business!
How does Bob do it and what are the rewards?
Find out in this interview with Bob Souer on VOX Daily.
Stephanie: How many members of your family are involved with your business?
Bob: My wife Cinda and I have four children, one girl (Karen) followed by three boys (in order of age: Eric, David and Brian). At one time or another, everyone except our youngest, Brian, has helped in some of the money-making activities of our business. And I've had Brian in my studio a few times. He's looking forward to a time when he gets to help, too.
Stephanie: Do any of your children exhibit an interest in becoming voice talent?
Bob: All of our children have expressed some interest at various times in the past. At present, our oldest son, Eric, is working with me this summer. He and I are working together on a large audiobook project in which he is helping with some of the initial audio editing. Also, Eric recently had the opportunity to book his first paying voiceover job, for a radio station in Oregon. The production manager there (Dave Christi) needed a male teen voice for one of his commercials and posted a request on the VO-BB. There were a few responses, but thankfully mine was first and I was delighted with the work Eric did.
In fact, if you'd like to hear our father and son recording session (with me off mic, directing and reading the other part), you'll find an mp3 of the session here:
Also, our daughter, Karen, has done several voiceovers for me in years past. In fact, one that both she and Cinda worked on was a national radio commercial for Thomas Nelson Publishers. You can hear a piece of that (with all of us sounding a whole lot) younger here:
Stephanie: What kind of an impact has working from your home recording studio had on your family? Has it made things more convenient as a parent?
Bob: I suppose this is something of a mixed blessing. On the one hand, I'm able to make recordings (including many of them just for fun or for school projects and so forth) that most Dad's couldn't do; but on the other hand there are plenty of times when I would dearly love to be able to be out in the yard throwing the ball around with my boys, but I have to get something done because there's a deadline looming.
Stephanie: You've mentioned that you are training your oldest son Eric right now and that he helps you a lot in the studio. Does Eric have aspirations to start his own studio in the future?
Bob: At this point with Eric still in high school (he'll be a senior next year) it's still way too early to carve anything into stone, but a big part of the reason that he's working with me this summer is to help him decide if he would like to join me in my business before or perhaps during and after he attends college. If that is the direction he goes, I'll eventually change the name of my company from Bob Souer Productions to just Souer Productions. (I've already registered that URL, just in case.)
Stephanie: Bob, how important is it to you that your family, particularly your wife, support you in your career as a professional voice talent? Can you give any examples where they have been key to your success?
Bob: Cinda has been a great support to me. The single greatest role that she plays is serving as my script watchdog when I'm doing long-form recording projects like audiobooks and podcasts. Inevitably, I make mistakes while reading and over the last number of years we've become an amazing team where she'll only need to say one or two words to help me see what I missed, or read wrong, or whatever. It saves so much time not having to do pick-ups on those mistakes later. Cinda and Eric both help me also with a daily radio program we produce for a church in Pittsburgh, PA. The program is called The Journey. The church has a page devoted to the program on their site (http://www.biblechapel.org/radioministry.htm). Between them, Cinda and Eric listen back to each program and provide notes on each sermon that the church uses to help listeners identify which specific broadcast they heard when they call or write in about the program.
Stephanie: Have you ever recorded a family recording session where everyone was involved with the recording?
Bob: The commercial segment above with Karen, Cinda and me is the one example I can think of with three of us working together. The commercial that Eric did for the station in Oregon has both of our voices, because I'm the announcer for all of that client's spots. You can hear the whole produced commercial here.
The other thing that comes to mind, though it's not a voiceover project as such is that years ago I used to offer cassette duplication services as part of my business. We would get these large jobs and after all of the tapes were dubbed, we'd create an assembly line on the kitchen table with tapes, labels, cassette jewel boxes and cartons for the finished product. Then Cinda and I and our kids would all pitch in together to get everything ready for shipment.
Stephanie: What is your favorite voice over project that you have worked on with a member or members of your family?
Bob: A few years ago, Cinda and I (and a good friend who lives in Pittsburgh, Darren Eliker) recorded an audio drama for a wonderful story called How Silently, How Silently; a beautiful story for Christmas written by the late author Joseph Bayly. We ran the audio on the radio station where I worked there (WORD-FM) and then arranged with the publishing company some years later to broadcast that recording nationally after I went to work for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association on a program called Decision Today.
Stephanie: How do your kids explain what you do for your job as a professional voice over talent?
Bob: I don't think it comes up in conversation all that much, honestly.
Stephanie: If you could work on any audio project with your family, what would it be?
Bob: I can't think of a specific audio project, though my wife is a very gifted actress and with my other children showing some promise in that regard, I think it might be fun to eventually work on some audiobook recordings where we all take part in creating some of the voices. But, the thing I would love most is for all of us to work together as part of a growing business that could continue to provide not only for Cinda and me, but for my children in years to come as well.
Stephanie: What brings you the most joy when working with your children at the studio?
Bob: There are very few things I love more than encouraging those with talent to develop and grow. And the greatest joy of all is helping my kids see that they too have special talents and abilities and to encourage them to pursue those things they love to do with great passion.
Thank you to Bob for taking part in Family Week!
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