Many people see sobbing on cue as the gold standard of emotional accessibility. A casting director we know frequently expresses her displeasure with performers who weep during auditions. Weeping can become the aim if an actor believes that crying implies skill or good acting performance. However, not all actors can effectively use their voices to express themselves through tears, so this ability must be learned.
Crying is part of human nature and as such it will often show up in movies and television shows. An actor might feel that portraying pain or other emotions requires the ability to cry on demand, but the truth is that most people don't have this talent.
It's natural for humans to react emotionally to situations and characters that trigger strong feelings. For some people this means crying, for others it means being angry or sad on demand. There are those who know how to use their voice to elicit tears from themselves or others, and there are those who can't do this at all.
On camera, the only way to demonstrate your ability to cry on demand is by doing so during filming. This means that unless you're given permission to do otherwise, you should try to hold back your tears until then. If you can't do this because you'll be unable to stop yourself from crying, then don't claim to be able to provide emotional accessibility via your tears.
"Crying on cue" is not an art form in and of itself. Actors must be capable of eliciting a wide range of human emotions based on the conditions of the situation. Realistic tears is no more difficult to create than believable laughing, horror, or any of a variety of other responses.
The secret lies in knowing how and when to apply pressure to the eye muscles without causing pain. This can only be learned through experience, so if you are new to this kind of work, then it's best to hire someone who has proven themselves able to manipulate eyes effectively.
In addition to being able to cry on demand, actors must also be able to "play to the camera." This means that they must be able to convey emotion to the audience, even if there is nobody else present apart from them and their director.
For example, an actor playing a sad character might brush away a tear before smiling at their child through their grief. There are many different techniques used by actors to achieve these results. It all depends on the role they are playing.
Some actors like to think that they can express every emotion correctly without practice, but the truth is that you cannot fake feelings that do not exist. Even the most experienced performers need time to process information around them and react accordingly. That is why professionals usually have coaches or mentors who can help them find the right approach for each scene.
Actors must be able to access prior emotions in order to shed "memory-driven tears." Recall a highly emotional event and then deliver your lines throughout the practice session. This will help you feel like yourself again when it's time for the scene to go live.
The more emotion an actor brings to a role, the better they can convey what it is they are feeling. Men often have a harder time showing emotion than women, but that doesn't mean they aren't capable of doing so.
If you look at Hollywood movies, you would think that men only ever show two kinds of emotions: joy and sadness. However, this is not true; men are also capable of showing fear, anger, disgust, embarrassment, humiliation, and worry. Women can sometimes forget about showing pain as well as joy, but that isn't because they can't experience either side of the spectrum.
In real life, we experience many different feelings simultaneously, but in films everything is simplified. That's why it's important for actors to be able to access different emotions during takes so they can react appropriately to their surroundings.
Immerse Yourself Completely in the Character The most typical way for an actor to cry in character is to completely immerse himself or herself in the role. Tears can "naturally" fall at the desired moment when performers actively feel and sincerely sympathize with their character's emotional palette. Sometimes a performer will even be able to bring on tears by thinking about a past event that caused him or her to tear up.
Some actors, however, need a little help from their friends to convincingly display emotions. These actors usually have trouble bringing on real tears by themselves but can be coached by another actor into mimicking genuine emotion. This can be done by having the helper mimic specific actions (such as rubbing his or her face) that the actor performing the role would do if he or she were actually experiencing emotion. This method is often used by teachers when trying to convince students they are really feeling something painful.
Finally, some actors choose to use makeup to create the appearance of tears. This is typically done by artists who work with theatrical producers. They first study the character closely to understand how he or she should look normally, then add special effects to alter the appearance of tears.
Actor's tears are very common during dramatic scenes because it gives the impression of deeper emotion. If you have not already, try acting out a few scenes from movies or television shows that include much crying.
Some people have the ability to deceive their eyes into generating tears. Although it is uncommon, some performers have the capacity to conjure up genuine cries by pure force of will (and lots of practice). During an interview with Conan O'Brien, Bryce Dallas Howard notably exhibited her innate ability to cry on command. According to Howard, this is something that comes naturally to her.
The majority of actors I've interviewed over the years have admitted to using artificial tears during filming. There are several brands on the market today for actors to choose from. Some examples include Acuvue Oasys, Allergan's Bionate, and Johnson & Johnson's Vistakon. They all work by replacing damaged tissue in the eye with natural materials or chemicals that stimulate new growth. This helps produce more realistic-looking tears.
There have been cases where celebrities have allegedly done things like glue pieces of paper to their faces to look like they're crying. However, most ordinary people do not have this kind of control over their faces. The only people who can convincingly display real emotion through their eyes are those who have learned how to do so through practice.