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In Brief: What is a Photocopier?

By Norman Chan

The absurdity of legal pedantry.

One of my favorite films at this year's SXSW Shorts competition was Verbatim, a six-minute comedic reenactment of a very-real deposition before the Ohio Supreme Court in 2011. In the 10-page deposition, a Cuyahoga County office worker stumbles around the definition of 'photocopier', dodging questions to avoid confirming that his office had a photocopying machine. Director Brett Weiner stumbled onto the transcript in 2012, and used it as a script for his short to great comedic effect. It's finally online to watch here. The New York Times is running with the idea of legal transcripts as film scripts, using Verbatim to kick of a new series of videos that adapt legal docs into dramatic and comedic performances.