The biggest mistake an actor can make when preparing for an audition is that they try to figure out what “THEY” are looking for. Actors will squash their initial instincts when first reading audition sides, attempting to fit in to what they “THINK” the Producers want. They believe there must be a right choice and a wrong choice.
The most freeing moment for an actor when prepping for an audition, is when they realize that the Casting Director, Director and Producer want the actor to make a bold choice that is different from the choice everyone else has been making. And that bold choice is your own personality.
In my 4 week audition workshops I like to give 2 different actors the same audition sides to work on. This simulates the real audition experience. When in the lobby, actors tend to focus on their competition…they see that every other actor is dressed in similar clothing and decide they must have worn the wrong outfit, they become aware that all the other actors in the lobby are younger than they are, they notice they are a different ethnicity from all the other actors in the lobby, they hear another actors audition through the door and become convinced that their choices are all wrong…thereby sabotaging themselves before they even walk through the audition room door.
The writer has written an outline and description of a character. But, it doesn’t necessarily have to be that particular description. Let’s say the writers description of a character says: “30 years old and Asian”. Does that mean that the actress MUST be Asian for a script reason? Or is it that the writer likes the IDEA of this part being cast with an Asian actress, but ethnicity has nothing to do with the storyline? If you are 50 years old and African American and the Casting Director calls you in to read for this part, believe me she knows that you are not Asian and not 30. It means that the original description of this character has opened up to any ethnicity and a wider age range.
I always say that Television is a personality driven business. Don’t ever tell yourself you are wrong for the part. The Casting Director has seen your picture and resume and has called you in for a reason. You can’t change the color of your skin, your age or your height. But, the writers can change those things if it doesn’t have any bearing on the storyline. So, don’t question why the Casting Director brought you in. Bring yourself to the part and make it right for you.