Actors pore over the sides as soon as they received their audition details. Especially for a pilot season audition because you want to deliver a flawless audition.
Your drama teacher has drummed into you that every piece of information you need about the character, and your performance, is contained in these pages.
But the clues to your character are found elsewhere. Especially for a pilot season audition
Look at it this way. Every actor going for this part is currently devouring the pages, cramming the lines into their memory. (Again, because your drama teacher has told you, you cannot start to work on the character until you have mastered the lines)
If you are being auditioned, then the casting director or their associate or your agent or …. Someone! ….believes there is a version of this character in you. A version that may be the one they are looking for.
Remind yourself of Hugh Laurie’s audition for House. He did not pop in his self tape because he studied the sides. He popped by delivering his unique blend of English cynicism, sarcasm and contempt. And that is what the producers responded to.
Not his ability. But his refusal to conform and simply do the lines.
To find and develop this ‘disregard’ for the sides – yes, I advocate treating the audition scene as a vehicle, not as a religious parchment – so you must find other forms of research.
Lose yourself in Google. Who is the creator? The producer? The writer? What other projects has this casting director done? What network is it being screened on?
Search images that inspire you to think where the series or the scene is set. What images can you find of the other characters in the scene?
In pilot season the difference between the best audition and the rest, is very very small. And the actor chosen is not the one who delivers the best performance, but the most compelling character.
And this character is not found in the sides. It is found in your inspiration.