Although I would not consider myself a trained musician, I do admit I have played guitar and ukulele for quite some time. As a result, every once in awhile someone will ask me how to get started on guitar. I always caution them to never buy an expensive guitar. I advise a lower end brand, for several reasons. One reason is that when starting on a new skill, especially in the arts, one never knows if that person will stick with it. A $100.00 guitar will serve equally as well as a $1000.00 dollar one for purposes of learning. Why spend a ton of money on something that may collect dust? Also, truth be told, that person will sound equally as good with a high or low end instrument. That is to say, they will sound like a grouchy puma trying to cough up a hairball while scraping their claws on a chalkboard.
Also, I strongly believe there is an inherent merit to using a lower end, and even somewhat awful instrument. Through the use of a mediocre guitar, eventually the student will have to come to terms that it is their skill that does most of the heavy lifting to sound good. One needs to be adaptable and learn to deal with curves thrown down the way. For instance, if the strings are too far away (that is to say, the action), one has to cope by pressing harder and with more authority with one's fretting hand. That is a reason I recommend that even if one wants to eventually play electric guitar, that they start on an acoustic. The stronger hands will allow the person to play both instruments rather than just one, as well as one can't hide behind the sound effects that electric guitars can provide. And so their craftsmanship is improved.
The same goes for painting and illustration (which I know much more of). An understanding of color theory, anatomy, perspective, composition are all valuable tools, even if one decides to become an abstract expressionist. A thorough understanding of the basics count in both music and the visual arts.
What does this have to do with voiceover? You guessed it, everything. Although someday I sincerely hope to obtain all the coveted doo dads (a proper home studio, better software, hardware, and of course coaching and training), I am for now satisfied that I have had to start at the bottom of the hill before I move up. Since I have had to start at a bit of a disadvantage, I have been forced to learn new and unexpected skills. I have had to learn how to edit my audio files and make them sound clean, and understand how to soundproof my tiny closet studio. I've had to learn how to work a mic both near, far and side to side. I've had to write most of the copy for my demos, to do all the social media. how to create and edit videos and a make website. Did I also mention how to write up an invoice and a legal agreement? This list goes on and on, and also continues to expand as I learn more.
While daunting at times, this process has been energizing and enabling.
The slow steps I've had to take just to get from there to here (and I'm at the very beginning of my career), has given me an understanding of just how much work goes into this job.
It makes me understand just how fortunate I am when I get in the booth and get to announce, narrate and act. After this start, if I ever in the future should be fortunate enough to be able to hire an assistant and agent to help me, I will be thoroughly grateful.
Conversely, I also will know if they aren't doing their job, since I once did it in their stead and have an understanding of the time it takes.
So in the end, it is all good. As a little nod to the Thanksgiving season, be grateful for where you are in your career, how you started, and where you are going.
The hard times, the difficulties, will just make you stronger as a voiceover actor as well as a business person, and if you are lucky a human being.