How to Cry on Command for Acting?

How to Cry on Command for Acting?

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  1. How Do Actors Cry on Command?
  2. Top 11 Tricks to Cry on Command.
  3. Are You a Good Actor if You Can Cry on Command?

How Do Actors Cry on Command?

Delivering a convincing cry during a performance can transform your performance from passable to powerful.

However, producing genuine tears to fall from your eyes while being pressured to give a compelling, honest, and outstanding performance can be unnerving. While some can muster out tears naturally or instinctively, others may have to rely on acting tricks and training to produce genuine tears.

Below are some tricks of the trade to help you cry on command:

Top 11 Tricks to Cry on Command

Actors have to cry a lot on camera, and it can be quite challenging to sustain that emotion for multiple takes in a row. Here are some tips to help you cry on cue.

1. Yawn before having to cry on cue:

Take a few big yawns in a row before you have to cry. This will lift your soft palate and elicit a physical reaction in your eyes, causing them to glisten.

This can work as a starting point to wet the eyes, allowing you to launch into an emotional scene.

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2. Drink lots of water:

Being hydrated helps you to cry on cue. When filming a crying scene for a sad or emotional movie or even in a dramatic play, ensure to drink plenty of water in the hours leading up to the big moment so your body is hydrated and prepared to release water.

How to cry as an actor

3. Warmup exercises:

You can do warmup exercises such as focusing on your breathing, relaxing your body, softening your mouth and jaw, and keeping your eyes open for about thirty seconds. You can apply these practices to making yourself cry before the cameras start rolling.

4. Make use of menthol tear sticks, Eye Drops, and Vaseline-based products:

Making use of eye drops, menthol tear sticks, and Vaseline-based products will easily get you crying in no time.

You can make use of the menthol sticks by applying them lightly under the eyes, and the fumes will make your eyes water. Ensure not to use menthol sticks excessively, and avoid getting them directly in your eye.

5. Pulling of nostril hair:

This sounds painful, but it's a very effective way to cry on cue, as revealed by several A-list actors.

Such as Michael Landon, who played Charles Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie, was required to cry often, and he revealed that this was his go-to method to get teared up.

Also, Cate Blanchett recently shared that she was taught to turn upstage and pull a nostril hair to make herself cry. 

However, be careful to avoid relying on it too frequently to prevent causing bodily harm.

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6. Having empathy:

Try to connect the given circumstances to your own life and fully immerse yourself in your role as much as possible.

You can find parallels between the character's life and your own by putting yourself in your character's shoes and summoning up memories of similar circumstances from your own experience. Tapping into sad memories and emotional pain can also allow you to cry real tears.

7. Recreate bodily response that someone would make while crying:

While you're in the scene, it's important to recreate every bodily response someone would experience while crying.

Make a crying facial expression, distort your breathing pattern to match the one of an actual crier, add whimpering noise, and any other mechanical thing people do while crying. Practice in front of a mirror to get a good look at what you look like when you cry, and remember to use a quavering voice and a trembling lower lip.

how to cry on command?

8. Cut onions:

It is no news that people cry when they cut onions. This is because these vegetables release the chemical irritant syn-Propanethial-S-oxide when cut. Once the tears start, they can be hard to stop for a few seconds, so cutting onions before a teary scene can help you let it all out.

Ensure that you make use of the portion of the onion near the end with the hairlike strands, which is the most tear-producing part. Chop it off and inhale from its freshly cut side, making sure to let some of the vapors get into your eyes. However, remember that this will affect you and anyone near the onion, so only use it with other actors in the scene trying to cry.

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9. Listen to sad music:

Listening to songs you played while experiencing a hard time in your life or songs that simply make you feel unhappy can be an effective way to shed tears.

You can curate a playlist of sad songs and listen to it right before you need to cry on cue.

10. Play the truth of the scene:

The best thing an actor can do is to play the truth of their scene. If your character's arc is clear and the script is strong, drop into the reality of the moment and let the scene play out naturally.

11. By Laughing:

Have you ever experienced a surreal moment in which you weren't sure if you or someone else was laughing or crying? 

Bizarre enough, sometimes it's indeed hard to tell. Try laughing while concealing your face with your hands or looking away. You can use your hands to rub your eyes, too. Make sure that when you remove your hands or turn back around, you're not smiling at all.

You will be shocked to discover how easy it is to cry instantly simply by laughing.

Are You a Good Actor if You Can Cry on Command?

Although crying on cue is sometimes considered the hallmark of acting, it isn't a necessary yardstick to measure good acting.

It is better to portray raw, genuine emotion as it's not about the quantity of your feeling but rather the quality of it.

Whether a script calls for welling up or tears running down, the most critical thing is to display a vulnerable moment. That feeling is far more important than physical tears.

If crying isn't coming naturally to you in the shoot, you should find another way to convey that emotion truthfully in the moment.

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