God I hope I get it! How many people do they need? 12 and 2 alternates.
By Kevin Michael Murphy(Actor-Voice Teacher)
I then realized I'd have to get up at the ass crack of dawn. This was the third thing that popped into my head:
The ass crack of dawn=anything that happens while breakfast is still being served at McDonalds
I showed up at the courthouse in East Bumblefuck, Queens, with my copy of "World War Z" in hand, only to be distracted by the various kinds of people surrounding me.
- Disgruntled businessfolk eager to prove they are too important and too busy to serve.
- People who didn't understand a lick of English
- Old people desperate to get on a jury
- Really sweet people who understand that jury duty is our privilege as Americans.
It didn't take me long to realize that I was equal parts all of these things.
- It was my first week teaching at NYU and I didn't want to miss that, plus I had to take 3 trains to get all the way to the middle of nowhere, Queens.
- Klingon is my first language
- I'm 73 years old
- I realize that being on a jury could actually be kind of interesting. I also like waving American flags.
Two of those are lies. I'll let you guess which ones.
After several hours of waiting, I was brought to the courthouse across the street and interviewed to be on a jury.
The judge was much like the one in this video. As he interviewed each person, they tried to come up with a reason why they couldn't serve. He wouldn't have it. I kept my answers short and sweet. Something I said caused me to be picked to be on the jury. Now I'm not gonna tell you any details about the case just yet, but I can say that it was rather fascinating.
I think that they should combine the jury selection process with extras casting for "Law and Order." You know there are hundreds of people who want to be on that show every week, and therefore you'd get a lot more volunteers!
TANGENT: My dad was once an extra on "L&O," and much like Ricky Gervais in "Extras" he got in trouble for slowly inching his way into the frame.
Contrary to what you may have thought, I have had some previous experience on a jury. Yes, most of you may remember my performance as Juror #10 in the Valley Stream Memorial Junior High School production of "12 Angry Jurors." My character was a bigot who had a cold. I remember rouging up my nose, stepping out on stage, and trying my darndest to convince that sold out cafetorium that I was both angry... and congested!
The main difference between a real trial, and the fake ones we watch on TV, is that everything in a real trial moves much slower. It's kind of like a big game of Simon Says with a bunch of crazy extra rules. Every so often the judge will send the jury back to the jury room, or send the jury home all together. This is why trials can sometimes take a long time.
During this trial I learned a lot of things. The first thing I learned is that lawyers can learn a lot from actors. Walking around the courthouse I saw a lot of little men in their mid to late 50s with greasy comb overs, in shabby, ill-fitting suits. I knew on sight that they were either:
- Goblins from "Harry Potter"
My point is that many of these lawyers looked like dirty little trolls. As actors we learn to dress the part. If you want to look like a trustworthy person and convince a jury to believe your client, perhaps try washing your hair.
Suave shampoo is on sale 2 for $5.99 at CVS this week(*With Extra Care card ONLY)
I think all lawyers should be required to take acting classes in law school. If you want a jury to believe you, you need to fully commit to what it is you are saying. As actors we are concerned and obsessed with portraying the truth. Lawyers must do the same thing. While actors must convince an audience, a lawyer must convince a jury.
That said, I bet the best lawyers out there know all about this.
As for you actors, recognize that your ability to connect to others and hold yourself with confidence in front of a group of people, is worth a lot more than you may think.
Stay tuned next week for Part 2 of "Dury Juty"...
KEVIN MICHAEL MURPHY is a voice teacher at NYU Steinhardt in addition to having his own studio in Midtown, Manhattan. Kevin is the creator/host of the critically acclaimed concert series "If It Only Even Runs a Minute," and can be found hosting his weekly show, "The Village Gate's Old Fashioned Piano Party" every Sunday at the Gallery at Le Poisson Rouge. Kevin is also an actor, having appeared in a bunch of Off-Bway, NYMF, Fringe, and workshop productions.www.TakeNYCVoiceLessons.com
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