This was inspired by Niftykoala's 'Beginner's Guide To Voice Acting.' As I've worked with hundreds of producers and have heard numerous horror stories from other voice actors, I've got a list of tips that can help new producers in dealing more professionally with their voice actors. If you've got one you'd like to add, feel free to post a reply!
1. Remember that the voice actor is there working for you for free. Chances are not everything is going to be perfect. You are entitled to ask for redo's if you do not believe that your voice actor said the line the way you were imagining it, but please be specific. Saying over and over "No, that's not right" without giving specific details is extremely frustrating and may cause your VA to give up. In some cases, if it's hard to describe in words, you may want to record yourself saying the line with the emotion you had in mind so that your actor can get a better idea. We're not psychic, really.
2. Please send your voice actor the entire script, or at least the part of the script that contains his or her character. Sending the lines and nothing else does not give a good idea of the context and the emotion may sound awkward or misread when all the lines are added together in the project.
3. If you're scouting for a role, let your voice actor know what type of voice you're looking for, or send some concept art. Chances are they can do a variety of voices and won't know which one to use unless you provide some details.
4. Please give your voice actors a deadline. If you say "Send the lines whenever", they may send them two months from now, so be prepared. If you give your actors a deadline and they still do not send the lines and have no good excuse, then you can technically have a right to recast. However, it is very insulting to a voice actor to be given a role, not given a deadline, and then have the part recast because it had been three days and they hadn't sent the lines yet. Please be reasonable.
5. It is your responsibility to listen to a voice actor's demo before scouting them for a role. So you heard someone voice acts? Great, but how do you know they can do the voice you need? Save some embarrassment on both ends - make sure you listen to the samples beforehand and are reasonably sure that the actor will be able to pull off the voice you're looking for.
6. Everyone has their preferred methods of casting, but simply "handing out parts" is generally not a smart move to make when casting. Just because someone replies and says they're able to do a voice doesn't mean they can do it well. And don't forget the fact that a lot of us have work or school schedules which hinder our ability to frequently check the forums. If you're in a hurry, even setting a deadline of 24 hours or so would give more people a chance to audition. If you find someone mediocre, and then someone better for that part emails you, your choices are to either have your project sound mediocre, or change your mind and make enemies with the original voice actor.
7. It is generally not a good idea to send scripts over messenger services, as they go in a generic "download" folder and can be easily lost or forgotten about. Even if you're talking to the voice actor online, send a copy to their e-mail box just to be safe. That way they can "flag" the message as something they still need to do.
8. Please remember that even amateur voice actors are busy people and avoid bugging them every few minutes over AIM asking, "Have you done the lines yet? Have you done the lines yet?" See the part about a deadline.
9. If something doesn't work out with one of your voice actors or you get into an argument, please keep it private. There's no need to go on a forum and talk about how much you dislike them or what a terrible actor they are. Chances are you'll isolate yourself from the community and no one will want to work with you for fear of a similar fate.
10. When doing long-term projects, please keep our contact information on hand. Saying you're recasting because you lost contact with a voice actor when we've been here all along really isn't cool.
11. No matter what, make sure to credit your voice actors in the finished product. We ask for no compensation other than that small amount of recognition that yes, we were the one who did that voice. It's common courtesy, and it also enables others to contact us if they liked what they heard.
12. Voice actors like to see what they're in, and will generally want to have a link to add to their resume. Please let us know if you completed a project we did lines for and give us a link so that we can watch it!
13. If you use a webmail provider such as Yahoo or especially Hotmail, check your "Bulk Mail" folder regularly. Because these programs' spam filters often mark things with attached files as viruses or junk mail, the lines we send you can go straight to the spam-box. If you see something in there make sure to click "Not Spam" to avoid similar problems in the future. If it's been a while and you haven't received our lines, please check back with us in case they haven't gone through. I recommend using Gmail as it can handle large files and has a better method for sorting out bulk mail. Just PM me with your email address if you would like an invite.
14. (contributed by TripleArrow) When a VA has contacted you with an audition, or especially if you have contacted a VA, it is only common courtesy to email them a reply. Even if all you have to say is that they did not get the part, at least that person is not constantly checking their inbox wondering if the producer even got their email. (Note from Haushinka: If you're running a big project with lots of auditions, a simple "Received Auditions" list will suffice.)
15. Please proofread your script before sending it to your voice actors. Misspelled words, terrible grammar or even accidentally leaving out a word or two can make it really confusing for the voice actors to decipher what they're supposed to say. If there are strange words or names in your script (I got a script once with a character named "Xynrdeaz" or something) it would be a good idea to include a pronunciation guide. It might be good to read the lines out loud to yourself so you can fix any awkwardness in the lines.
16. When your VA sends you lines, make sure you save them to a safe place, and keep them if you decide to get a new computer. Viruses and hard drive wipeouts are often beyond your control, but most voice actors do not save the lines they do because it takes up space on their computers. It is very frustrating to dig through folder after folder as well as your emailbox trying to figure out whether or not you kept the lines you sent someone 4 months ago.
17. (idea contributed by Maynz) Don't be afraid to be assertive with your project. Set deadlines and ask for lines to be redone if you need to. Just be specific - anything you can send us, such as concept art, voice clips for reference, etc. will be helpful in doing the voice the way you want it.
18. It's understandable if you're making a spoof of an anime or game and want the voices to sound close to the original. However, please remember that we are not that same voice actor/actress that was in the game or movie, and chances are we will not be able to do an exact imitation. Unless you can somehow get that same professional VA to record the lines for you, remember that everyone has a unique voice and we're not going to exactly be able to reproduce someone else's. The same goes for imitating your previous VA who dropped out of your flash series. It doesn't mean we're "off" or have "bad voices"; it just means that we're different people.
19. Recasting: So your voice actor missed a deadline? The best thing to do is send them a friendly reminder asking them about their lines. If they still don't respond, send a notice that if they don't have their lines in by (insert date here), they will be recasted. It's a good idea to let your voice actors know if you'll be recasting so that they don't waste time recording lines you're not going to use.
20. Cancelling your project? Just be honest with us. Work and family issues do come up, and most voice actors will be understanding. If your projects have a habit of disappearing into thin air, you may find that people are less and less willing to audition or record for you.
21. When a voice actor does work for you, please do NOT take this as an extra e-mail address that you can add to forward chain letters to on your massive mailing list. You may e-mail us about voice over work, but it is very unprofessional to just send us chain letters so you can attempt to avoid some "horrible fate" really made up by a 13-year-old scammer.