George's Life Flashed Before his Eyes

Jun 21, 2017

Meghan Drouin, Pepperdine student

The principles of Media Production could improve trials

I have found that there are three principles from my major, Media Production, that if used, could improve the trial process: storytelling, point of view, and conclusions. In media production, the whole idea of the industry is telling a story and representing a point of view. That is exactly what was going on in the trial that I attended. "George's life flashed before his eyes and everything changed for him in the blurb of a second. He is no longer able to take care of himself or those that he loves." Through the witnesses in the courtroom, the jury is understanding George's life and hoping to care enough about it that we want to watch him fall back in love with it.

In order to implement storytelling in the courtroom, they need to have a good introduction. After the opening of a trial, there should be no one questioning what the case is about, what they are trying to solve, and what conclusion they want to draw. The next storytelling element that should be implemented is a protagonist with an aim. In the case of a trial, the protagonist would be the plaintiff. The jury needs to know what the point of the trial is and what their goal for coming to court is. The next element are obstacles that provide conflict and tension. Why is the plaintiff not able to get his desired outcome? Next is the climax or the crisis point. This would be when the jury meets to discuss the trial after hearing from everyone in the case. Lastly, is the resolution or the conclusion. E.g. What did the jury decide?

The next characteristic that should be implemented in court is point of view. Point of view can be defined as, "the in-world storyteller, the voice that imparts the story events to the audience." The jury consists of 12 members and they all know the general synopsis of the case. They do not know the details of the case, however. They have to learn the reasoning of decisions through the different point of views of the witnesses. The idea of point of view should be implemented in trials because the plaintiff and defendant are relying on their lawyers and witnesses to represent their point of view and their story. It should be clear whose side they are on, even when they are getting cross examined.

Lastly, conclusions should be implemented because you want your jury to feel so invested in the plaintiff that they want them to have a good outcome. You do not want them to say, "Well he drove drunk and that was stupid. He deserves this conclusion." The jury should know exactly how they want the plaintiff's story to end when the trial is over. Do they want him to win or do they want him to lose? If you are a lawyer, think about why you took on the case. What made you invested in that particular client? Whatever the answer is, use that to convince the jury.

Meghan Drouinis a senior at Pepperdine University majoring in Media Production.

Jon Pfeiffer is an experienced entertainment and copyright trial attorney practicing in Santa Monica. Jon is also an adjunct professor at PepperdineUniversity in Malibu, California where he teaches MediaLaw. COM 570 covers First Amendment issues as well as copyright, defamation and privacy.


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