They don’t know what they want. That’s the TV rule.
Episodic television is very much about making it up as they go along. Searching, searching for what works under great time and money pressure.
The character description in the breakdowns are merely the first sketch of what – maybe – the showrunner would like. It’s in the ballpark, but it ain’t written in stone.
And, sometimes it isn’t even in the ballpark. They get to a certain point and say, ‘No, we don’t need that character or we want the character to go in the opposite direction.’
You have to devise a plan so you go to the audition clear-headed and not confused.
If the character breakdown could lead you two different ways it is smart to prep both ways. You could say in the room ‘I’ve got two choices here and I’d like to show them both to you,’ Or, you could present one and then casting might re-direct you to the other, but you won’t be caught off-guard as you already took that choice into consideration.
Again, try not to get distracted by trying to figure out exactly what they want.
Breakdowns are written either by the showrunner, a writer from the writer’s room, a junior writer, or casting. They can divert you in two ways: Adjectives. A list of adjectives that is impossible to fulfill. Activity. Telling what your character does. ‘The grandfather tells his daughter to follow her dreams.’
Neither assist you to figure out what your character wants and how they get it. Plus, it’s clear in the script that is what the grandfather is doing, so why write it in the breakdown.
What you can do – and are already doing – is learning what TV is, learning the icons, learning where you play, learning how to suss out what the genre of the show is and what the job of your character is.
That’s the main work - analyzing the scene. Then, playing the situation as you.
The clues are there and you need to get better and better at recognizing them and recognizing them at speed. It’s like learning to see the clues Shakespeare put in his text.
Tread carefully in using the character breakdowns as your guide.
Crying over the injustice of you not being fully informed of exactly what the producers wanted is distracting, humiliating and a waste of your time.
Although it is an injustice.