Crying on demand is one of the most challenging emotional scenes an actor must play. I am sure if you are asked to cry within the next minute, you will hardly be able to pull it off. So, can actors cry on demand? Yes! The best or A-list actors can produce tears when the scenes call it. How do they do it, you may wonder!
I’m always curious about how actors cry on film.Anne Hathaway
Even for an actor whose whole career is built on bringing characters to life, crying on cue can be challenging. It is challenging to produce tears on demand or change emotions abruptly in a matter of seconds. There are two main techniques used to help actors to produce tears, with an emotional connection and without an emotional connection. Let us look at both!
Cry Without an emotional connection
An actor may result in using crass props or tricks to stimulate their subconscious to produce tears. The emotional approach is, however, more popular. Here are some non-emotional ways to keep the tears coming.
- The menthol method
Zoe Lister-Jones, a tv, film, and Broadway actress say it is a stick with a hole in the middle. You know how menthol makes your eyeballs wet and makes you sniffle like you have a cold? Menthol tools like tears, sticks, and tear producers are an easier method for most actors. The stick trick requires an actor to apply the menthol under the eyes. The menthol tear producer, on the other hand, is a spray that produces instant results. The two have no side effects as they have been researched thoroughly before use.
- Staring method
The heading says it all! The staring method can be approached in two ways. First, you can stare into the crew lights. Eyes are a sensitive organ, and when exposed to extreme lighting, they will tear to protect themselves. Staring into those blurring lights may do the trick. Secondly, you can close your eyes and rub them for about sixty seconds tops. When you open them, try not to blink for at least 30 secs. Deliver your lines staring right into the person or object. In less than forty seconds, your eyes will let the tears down. Talk about real, effortless tears!
Cry With an emotional connection
We saved the last for the best! What happens if all the non-emotional tricks do not work on an actor? The emotional approach is the most common approach taken by actors. What is more, acting coaches recommend using the sensitive approach. It works for most actors, and there are no side effects like other improvised methods. Rubbing your eyes, for instance, may leave you with undesirable eye bags while with menthol, you may be unable to stop crying!
- Memory driven tears
Have you heard of creating an emotional connection with the situation to be able to cry? It does not sound as easy as I just put it. Producing real tears from siphoning painful memories can be incredibly challenging. It is even harder if you are a tough person. Memory driven tears often require a lot of practice to enable one to recall the past emotions on a scene. You can bring the tears out by recalling past moments that you have dug deep never to be remembered. It can be something you have gone through that is still very fresh to you. Losing someone close to you or a breakup are some instances that can work. Most people have read a book or novel or watched a film that was so sad or gruesome it sent them to tears. If you can afford burry yourself to publications in that manner, then you can recall such events to bring the tears. In acting, people that can easily get in touch with their emotions and cry on demand are labeled emotionally available. However, what most will tell you is that it requires some crazy rehearsal. It also takes some getting used to recall an emotional experience from your past that will make you go into tears. An actor needs to channel the right memory to suit the scene they are acting to be able to cry. Remember, some sad memories can make you upset or angry instead of just making you cry.
- Take a peep at your fears
There is something we all fear. It can be actual life events like death, tragic events, or even animals and insects. At times memories may not be sad enough to bring us to real tears, but fear does not fail. Some actors will go through an emotional scene imagining the death of a pet or loved one, a tragic event happening, or discovering a terminal disease. Whatever works for you. However, like memory, this technique also requires a lot of practice to perfect. You also need to tap into the right fears at the right scene.
- Reverse psychology
Have you ever been so mad, but you convinced yourself in the mirror not to cry because they did not deserve to see your tears? If you have been in such a situation, then you know what follows is a river of tears. If you can tap into an emotional situation, but cannot feel the tears, try reverse psychology. It is one technique that never fails.
- Keanu Reeve’s technique
While Winona Ryder was playing Dracula, she needed to play an emotional scene but was not really in the mood as she reports to a British reporter., “I heard Francis and Reeves yelling some mean things and calling me names. I started to cry, but they didn’t stop.” another method actor can use is have the director yell at them. Its however not recommended as it may leave an actor wrecked.
- Connect with the character
An actor is at times needed to be I the moment to be able to connect with the character. Connecting with the character helps the actor to share in what they are going through at every moment and, eventually, their emotions. If going back to stuff you would rather forget does not appeal to you, try getting engrossed in your role. A good actor who is fully engrossed in their role or script can draw the tears by empathizing with their character.
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