How To Cry on Command
As voice actors, your ability to convey genuine emotions is essential in bringing scripts to life and connecting with audiences on a deeper level.
Tears have the power to evoke empathy, compassion, and understanding, making them a valuable tool in any actor’s repertoire.
One of the most challenging, yet powerful, emotions to portray is crying.
To cry on command you need to:
- Embrace Emotion Vulnerability
- Develop a Strong Emotional Connection to the Story
- Employ Memory Recall
- Engage in Physical Warm-Up
- Work on Visualization
- Use Eye Drops Sparingly
In this blog, we will explore the art of crying on command, offering techniques and tips to help voice actors master this delicate skill and deliver emotionally charged performances that resonate with listeners.
Here are six tips for voice actors, with insight from voice actors and coaches, to cry on command:
1. Embrace Emotional Vulnerability
The first step in mastering the art of crying on command is to embrace emotional vulnerability.
Acting requires delving into the depths of human emotions and tapping into our own vulnerabilities and experiences.
Jessica Payne, a SAG-AFTRA actor, acting coach and director says it’s important to allow yourself to connect with your past experiences and emotions, drawing from them to produce authentic performances.
“It’s important to respect the line between acting and your personal life, so be careful of mining personal tragedies for your art and use your imagination to think ‘it’s as if…’ instead,” she explains.
Payne said if this strategy doesn’t work you can use the tool of substitution, and imagine something that world make you cry.
“It’s essential to create a safe space for yourself to explore these emotions without judgment.”
2. Develop a Strong Emotional Connection to the Material
To effectively cry on command, you must immerse yourself in the script or scenario you are portraying.
“Actors can cry on demand by empathetically immersing themselves in the character’s situation and thinking what if this were truly happening to me?,” Payne says.
Take the time to understand the character’s backstory and the circumstances leading up to the emotional moment. By developing a strong emotional connection to the material, you can evoke a genuine emotional response when the time comes to perform.
3. Employ Memory Recall
Memory recall is a very powerful technique used by actors to trigger emotions. Think of a personal memory that brings the emotional response you need for the scene.
It could be a sad moment, a loss, or a poignant experience. Remember the sensory details associated with that memory; the sights, sounds, smells, and emotions.
By bringing that memory to the forefront of your mind, you can pull from those feelings to manifest tears and pure emotions.
4. Engage in Physical Warm-Up
Physical warm-up exercises can help loosen up your body and release any tension that might be hindering your emotional expression.
Engage in deep breathing exercises, stretching, or yoga to relax your muscles and prepare yourself mentally for the performance.
Ainsley Martins, the founder of My Acting Agent, says to try using menthol sticks or tear-producers just beneath the eyes to stimulate crying.
“Maintain relaxed breathing and visualize heart-tugging scenarios and try to blink less, as dry eyes can stimulate a natural response to tear up,” she adds.
A relaxed body is more receptive to emotional cues, making it easier to access tears when required.
5. Work on Visualization
Visualization is a powerful tool that can assist in crying on command. Before recording, close your eyes and visualize the emotional scene in vivid detail.
Picture the characters, their emotions, and the events leading up to the emotional climax.
Engage all your senses to make the visualization as realistic as possible.
This mental rehearsal can prime your emotional responses and make it easier to access tears during the performance.
6. Use Eye Drops Sparingly
While many actors opt for eye drops to simulate tears, it is essential to use them sparingly.
Overusing eye drops can lead to an unnatural appearance and potentially irritate your eyes.
Instead, rely on the emotional techniques mentioned earlier to trigger real tears when possible. If needed, a drop or two of eye drops can provide the finishing touch to enhance the authenticity of the emotional moment.
Actors Who Excel at Crying on Command
The ability to cry on command is a testament to an actor’s skill and emotional depth. It requires tapping into vulnerable spaces within oneself and connecting with the essence of a character’s plight.
While many actors can convincingly shed tears, some possess an exceptional talent for summoning genuine and powerful emotions at will.
Here are the actors who have mastered the art of crying on command, captivating audiences with their ability to evoke profound empathy and raw emotion:
1. Meryl Streep
Renowned for her versatility and impeccable technique, Meryl Streep is widely regarded as one of the greatest actors of our time. Her ability to cry on command is a testament to her extraordinary talent.
Streep immerses herself in her characters, often drawing from personal experiences and deep emotional reservoirs. With her ability to access a wide range of emotions effortlessly, she can bring audiences to tears with her moving performances.
2. Viola Davis
Viola Davis is an actress who consistently delivers powerful and emotionally charged performances.
She possesses an innate ability to tap into the core of a character’s pain, effectively bringing tears to her eyes and the audience’s hearts.
Davis’s commitment to her roles, combined with her vulnerability and rawness, allows her to embody complex emotions and transform them into compelling on-screen moments.
3. Leonardo DiCaprio
Leonardo DiCaprio is known for his intense dedication to his roles, and his ability to cry on command is no exception.
He has an uncanny ability to summon genuine tears, whether it’s through his nuanced facial expressions, the subtle quiver of his voice, or the deep emotional wellspring he taps into.
DiCaprio’s commitment to authenticity and his willingness to fully immerse himself in the emotional lives of his characters make his performances profoundly moving and impactful.
4. Claire Danes
Claire Danes is an actress who possesses a remarkable gift for emotional expression. Danes can effortlessly convey a wide range of emotions, including intense moments of crying on command.
Her ability to evoke raw emotions through her performances has earned her critical acclaim and a dedicated fan following.
Danes’s talent lies in her ability to make her characters’ pain and anguish palpable, leaving a lasting impression on viewers.
5. Tom Hanks
Tom Hanks is a versatile actor known for his ability to seamlessly transition between genres and embody a wide array of characters.
His performances often include moments of powerful emotional catharsis, where he can summon tears and convey profound vulnerability.
Hanks has the rare talent to evoke empathy and connect with audiences on a deeply emotional level, making his portrayals memorable and deeply affecting.
Crying on command is a challenging but essential skill for voice actors seeking to connect deeply with their audience.
By embracing emotional vulnerability, developing a strong connection to the material, and employing visualization and memory recall techniques, you can authentically portray tears and move your listeners profoundly.
Remember that mastering this skill takes time and practice, so be patient with yourself and keep honing your craft.
As you continue to delve into the intricacies of human emotion, you will unlock the full potential of your voice acting abilities, leaving a lasting impact on those who hear your performances.