In a film I am making I need and actor to start crying, but I cant think of how I am going to do that without actually making them sad.

One thing I have heard is that there are eye drops you can get.

Are there any other options?

  • I've always wondered how many actors are making themselves cry internally, being made to cry (which is not exactly easy) or are using some sort of practical effects... Jul 7, 2011 at 22:59
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    I'd like to suggest you edit your question to address a specific problem you've been faced with, instead of a theoretical what-if. Your talent are willing collaborators, and if you're trying to "make them cry", then you're mistakenly treating them like props. Did you try communicating with them to show them why you were after a certain performance? How did that go? My second suggestion is to read Judith Weston's "Directing Actors", which even has a section dedicated to dealing with child actors, who may not understand your motivations as well as a trained adult. Jul 8, 2011 at 18:16
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    By playing them this song. Jul 9, 2011 at 21:51
  • There's some meta discussion here about whether "performance" questions like this are on-topic here. I'd be interested to know what everyone thinks! Jul 12, 2011 at 22:31
  • Kick 'em in the nuts ;)
    – slim
    Nov 30, 2011 at 13:46

5 Answers 5


Eye drops or saline are certainly simple. Alternatives include blowing dry air at the face just before action, or rubbing the eyes.

Can your actor not use the old tried and tested method of remembering the death of a childhood pet?


If he/she is a professional actor you don't have to try and make him cry. It's part the actor's job. And again professional or not you cannot fake a cry without making the actor sad ( meaning just tears or fake ones ) . Otherwise the overall scene will seem fake. What you should do is make the actor understand why he/she has to cry in that scene and most important help the actor really live the scene . Of course if you don't want to make the actor sad ( which i think is unavoidable ) you can help afterwards by congratulating and changing the sadness with happy feelings of success. ( or a romantic dinner if you have feelings for the actor - :P ) In other words everyone that takes part on this scene just enjoy it . maybe it will need some takes . but my suggestion is .. enjoy it


A 'menthol blower' is what I've seen recently used on set. The makeup artist will blow through it into the actor's eye to irritate it. A search on Google might give you some leads.

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Create the emotion and use eye drops only as a final touch, if needed.

If you try, you will find you can pretty much create any emotion at will. The actors should be sad when playing these parts, only difference is that when you are purposefully causing yourself to be sad, it's actually pretty fun.


It's better to try to create the emotion rather than just using eye-drops or onions, because besides tear production, there are other mannerisms and behaviors involved in crying.

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