now clogging the internet elsewhere

29 September 2006

Back to your regularly scheduled blawg

It's been a while since I talked about law school, I realize, but I'm back in school for reals now and those funny law school things keep coming if you're only here for stories about law firms, I'll give you a moment to gather your things and go. I'm taking a trial advocacy class, with a mock trial and everything, which sounds kind of fun but in reality is an excruciating exercise in trying to find a copy shop that will make extra large poster-sized copies for less than $20 and training paid actors to act like witnesses. My trial partner and I met with our actor/witnesses last night for our trial on Saturday and oh dear god. "Treat the witnesses like they're in character!" the professors told us. "Don't break character! Just help them with their testimony. They'll know the story backwards and forwards! Just treat them like you would any other witness." Our client is a man who got shot by the police who is seeking civil damages against the police officers and the city. Our witness, who plays the man who got shot, walks into the witness prep room, sits down, and says "So, I'm a cop, huh? Cool! I'm on plainclothes detail and I get into a fight with some wackjob...." "um," I inerrupted, "actually, that's the other side. You are the wackjob." "Oh." he said. "Then I don't know anything about this case. You're going to have to start from scratch." AWESOME. Our actor is a nice person, and really wants to do well, but when he said "you know, it would really help if you'd write me a script with some notes in the margins about what's motivating me at different times in my testimony- you know, whether I'm coming from an angry place, or a sad place?" I wanted to shoot him. What's my motivation? Maybe you could just learn the facts of the case, friend. I'd settle for that. "Oh!" he said. "And do you want me to do an accent? Blue collar Italian, blue collar Irish, something like that?" Oh dear god no. Please don't spend your one day of prep time trying to adopt a blue collar Italian accent. Please just try to learn your lines. Pretty please. Because my trial is going to go a whole lot better if you're able to remember that you owe SIXTY thousand dollars to the hospital, not six thousand like you kept saying in practice. There's a really big difference between sixty and six, and your motivation? Your motivation is to get as much money from these trigger happy cops as you can. So let's just focus on the difference between sixty and six and leave the accents and the invented family histories and all the other method acting techniques for another day. Mmmkay?


At 9/29/2006 11:41:00 AM, Blogger Zoe said...

What do I know, not being a law student nor an actor, but I'm thinking you might do better hiring friends to be your witnesses.

Your friends will do a good job because they love you and want you to do well. Unpaid or lowly paid actors want to act and think that just maybe, the professor in charge of your mock trial MIGHT be cousins with head honchos at NBC, so just in case, they better give their acting everything they can.


Post a Comment

<< Home