ActingFilm & TV

How Actors Cry On Command: Acting Sad

Ever wondered how actors cry on screen?

If anybody is asked to cry in the next minute with almost 50 people around them how would you make yourself cry?

Well, it is not an easy task and it is not always glycerin that helps on how to cry on cue. Crying is an inner feeling that occurs when you are sad or when you shed tears of joy. Human beings are designed this way and you can’t always force tears in real life.

However, if you are an actor this comes as a part of the job.

There are scenes in which you have to genuinely produce tears that convince the audience that the actor is in great despair. This is among some of the most challenging tasks for not only screen actors but those who are performing live.

Now if you are stuck thinking about how to cry on command you need to bring in the emotional capacity you have to do it. Some actors have the skills of getting their eyes watery instantly; this is innate so they can control this.


How do you make yourself cry?

You can try a few methods of bringing in tears but it will take time and practice to master the art of making yourself cry on demand.

Call in your memories

Theatre masks drawn in chalk having a good old cry

When you are doing the rehearsal of your lines try to reconnect with your past.

Every human being has experienced an incident that gave them sorrow or misery. Once your brain is stimulated you can feel the grief taking over you for a while.

This way you can develop real tears that are born from that anguish.

Sometimes there are moments of past that have given you so much joy that the realization made you cry out of happiness. You can also recall those memories and bring in tears. Once you stop thinking about it the feeling dies and you are done with the act.

Summon your fears

Memories don’t always lead you to a successful crying jag so you have to try something else. You often find yourself scared at the sight of a dark alley or you might have witnessed an accident that has now become a phobia for you.

Something that frightens you so much that tears converge inside your eyes will give you hold of crying on a cue by your director.

Catch yourself in the moment

Sometimes the script is so well written with such detailing that when you rehearse your lines you feel the desolation within.

Focus on your character and understand what it is going through. Powerful scenes that require your energy and effort have this inclining capability of alluring the actor to perform as it has to be portrayed. This triggers strong emotions that can help an actor how to cry on demand.

The conventional methods: how to cry on cue?

If the techniques above don’t work out and you can’t feel the emotions barging in then try the old tricks:

  • Close your eyes and rub them, try not to rub them too hard though!
  • Get a methanol tear stick or tear producers that can be applied under the eye or sprayed respectively.
  • Simply holding your eyes open will produce moisture, and fanning the eyes can help produce more moisture should it be needed.

Richard Hammond

I am the founder of 9Mousai and am deeply interested in creativity and what inspires it. My main passions are writing, film and music but I have huge respect for all the arts. I'm also an animal lover and have a little cat called Winston and enjoy the occasional whiskey or two...

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