If you’re wondering how to make the audience cry, you probably have come across an emotional script that requires you to stir an emotion in your audience. It’s true that most emotional scripts are written to make the audience cry, but it ultimately falls upon the actor to execute that task perfectly. If you can’t make your audience sob and tear up a little at a highly emotional scene, it could reflect poorly on your performance as an actor.
So, to avoid that, learn the techniques to make your audience cry with your performance.
If you think about it, people cry at emotional scenes when they can connect with the character’s story and begin to care about them. While the storyline is out of your hands, you can help your audience connect & care about the character through your performance.
Your goal is to build the sadness, establish the audience’s bond with your character, portray the relatability of the characters and give the audience a cocktail of tragedy & hope. If the audience cares about a character and it goes through a tragedy then only will they be able to feel the emotional devastation in true essence.
Following are a few proven ways to connect with your audience emotionally and make them cry with your performance.
The audience must be able to relate with your character – only then can they sympathize with them and feel the upcoming tragedy more closely. As an actor, you must humanize the character and bring it to life with your performance so that the audience can see it as one of their own instead of a work of fiction. Enable the audience to draw a connection to the character and understand his motivations & struggles.
For an emotional scene to work best, your audience needs to be familiar with what your character is going through. It comes to you to portray a character’s internal struggles in the best possible way. It will also help your audience understand why your character reacts the way it does.
To do this properly, try to understand your character’s emotional investment in a scene. If your character is going through an emotional turmoil, think about what it must be feeling on a deeper level and try to portray that.
To move the audience with your performance, your actions must be fluid and guided by the script and not your own instincts.
It’s important as an actor to lose yourself in a scene and let the character’s emotions flow through. It should come out naturally and not at all feel forced. Otherwise, you’ll lose the connection with your audience.
Here’s what you can do to portray your character’s emotions:
– Try to get inside the head of your character and feel what it feels. Experience its true personality and emotions through the script and get to know your character as much as possible.
– While being a vessel for your character’s emotions, embrace your emotional response to the script as well. If you find yourself being struck by a line or your voice wavering over an emotional sequence, don’t constrain yourself and let the emotions flow through you.
When doing an emotional scene, as a part of knowing your character, assess your character’s needs and try to fulfill them. Whatever the given scene may be, think about the significance of your character in that scene and the overall story. In an emotional scene, focus on what your character needs at that moment. Focus on why your character’s reaction is important to the whole storyline.
That’s why it’s advised to get to know your character. Spending some time with your character’s descriptions can make it easier for you to channel it through your performance.
While these techniques allow you to connect with your audience, if you really wish to make them cry with your performance, you must allow them to feel your character strongly.
The strongest expression of any emotion is physical, and in this case, it’s crying. If you can cry on cue, you’ll be able to make people cry as well.
Directors and filmmakers require you to be able to cry on cue for emotional scenes as the real tears make the performance look raw, more realistic, and communicate the character’s emotions better.
Following are a few tips to cry on cue.
– Yawn before your cue: Yawn big and wide a few times in a row to lift your soft palate and elicit a physical reaction in your eyes. It is known to glisten your eyes and give the wet eyes a look. For some actors, it’s enough to have some tears roll down as well. This trick is good for launching an emotional scene.
– Drink lots of water: Staying hydrated is necessary to be able to cry excessively. Drink plenty of water before your scene to stay hydrated and prepared for your big scene.
– Force your eyes open for thirty seconds: Have you ever noticed that while staring for too long your eyes tend to moisten or even tear up. It’s because your eyes can’t be forced open for more than 30 seconds without reacting this way. So, you can use this to your advantage and force open your eyes for about 30 seconds before shooting your emotional scene.
– Try a menthol tear stick: Though these were some quick and light tricks to initiate a crying scene since actors have to cry a lot on camera several times, these tricks may not work after a while. So, there’s a professional solution – a menthol tear stick. It is applied lightly under the eyes, and the menthol fumes make the eyes water.
– Shallow breaths: Shallow breaths activate stress hormones in your chest and give a push to real emotional tears. This technique may work when you have to let out a good cry on camera.
Successful actors are capable of stirring emotions in their audience. They are capable of making the audience curious, laugh, and even cry through their performance. While a few tricks definitely help, it’s all about the skills in the long run.
So, if you wish to someday make your audience cry with your emotional performance, learn professional acting skills through our certificate acting courses that pave the way for your acting career.
We offer a range of acting classes and workshops tailored to the needs of aspiring actors at different stages in their careers. These acting courses will teach you all that you need to embody a character and ace that audition, including how to make the audience cry.
If you’re ready to take the next step towards a great career as an actor, try out some great acting workshops or great acting classes today!
Making an audience cry is not as easy as it may seem. It requires an actor to truly embrace the character’s personality and portray it in its true essence to make the audience feel something. There are a few ways an actor can do so, including:
Jeremiah O’Brian is a faculty member at the USC School of Dramatic Arts. His exceptionally diverse background – from gritty nuts-and-bolts firefighting to film and theatre credits and accolades – is bolstered by his several graduate degrees.