Doug Passon on Business of Story Podcast

Doug Passon, Defense Attorney turned Filmmaker

#182: How Defense Attorneys Use Cinematic Storytelling to Reduce Sentences

182: How Defense Attorneys Use Cinematic Storytelling to Reduce Sentences

In 1995, a convict of a federal drug case was given a reduced sentence of probation. Why? The judge saw a video of him taking care of his wife who was very sick. The video showed how his wife’s entire life depended on him. Most importantly, it showed who will be affected most by the judge’s decision — the sick and dying wife who didn’t have anything to do with the crime.

That alone influenced the judge’s decision because it appealed to his human side. That’s the power empathy has.

In this episode, hear more of these stories from my guest, Doug Passon. Doug is a defense-attorney-turned-filmmaker and founder of The Sentencing and Post-Conviction Film Festival. He shares how a story and a picture, when combined to bring out the truth, can lead to reduced sentencing.

Even if sentencing doesn’t pertain to your life at this moment, Doug will entertain and enlighten you through his documentaries that will make you look at some of the convicts in a different light. It reminds us that we don’t have the whole picture; they are often depicted as “bad people”, yet they are also humans with stories worth hearing.

Learn how to induce empathy in your audience, which could persuade your listeners to make different decisions. Doug also shares the 3 primary elements to make a story cinematic. By knowing these elements, you can find a more compelling way to tell stories.

Tune in to this week’s show and learn a thing or two on how we can speak the truth, show the truth, and live out the truth surrounding people’s life journeys. In doing so, we’ll find out how to be more understanding and empathetic, helping us arrive at fairer judgments and sounder decisions.

“Video Sentencing Letter” from Law Offices of Doug Passon, PC on Vimeo.

In This Episode, You Will Learn

  • How and where to use cinematic storytelling
  • The difference of sympathy versus empathy
  • What the 3 R stories are all about

Key Quotes

“Picture is way more powerful in a courtroom than what a lawyer can do with their words, with their papers, and with their pleadings.” —Doug Passon

“Story, even the fictional ones, are designed to tell us truths about life.”  —Park Howell

“The only thing that beats a story is a better story.” —Park Howell

“Sympathy can build a wall between us. Empathy is all about bringing everyone closer” —Doug Passon

“The greatest sin of a filmmaker is to bore your audience.”—Doug Passon

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