The NY Times is launching a new service, which is quite awesome: taking interesting legal transcripts, and then filming them with actors. The first one is brilliant and a must-watch. The NYT got folks from the Upright Citizens Brigade to recreate the hilarious deposition fight
concerning whether or not the Cuyahoga County Recorders' Office (in Ohio) had a photocopying machine, where the Office's IT guy (and his lawyer) worked very, very, very hard to not answer the question by constantly asking what is meant by a photocopying machine, leading to reasonable exasperation from the lawyer for the plaintiffs in the case. The specific deposition, which dates back to 2010, involved the Recorders' Office refusing to hand out electronic documents, but instead telling people who wanted copies of records that they had to pay for them to be printed/photocopied at $2 per page. There's more on the case here
, but watch the video first:
As the NYT's Brett Weiner notes:
In this short film, I sought to creatively reinterpret the original events. (I’ve not been able to locate any original video recordings, so I’m unsure how closely my actors’ appearance and delivery resembles the original participants.) My primary rule was the performance had to be verbatim -- no words could be modified or changed from the original legal transcripts. Nor did I internally edit the document to compress time. What you see is, word for word, an excerpt from what the record shows to have actually unfolded. However, I did give the actors creative range to craft their performances. As such, this is a hybrid of documentary and fiction. We’ve taken creative liberties in the staging and performance to imbue the material with our own perspectives.
This is actually a pretty cool way to make use of new digital tools to bring certain news stories to life. While this may just be amusing right now, it'll be interesting to see how else it's used going forward.