A family affair turns into a CLVS story

By Andrea Kreutz

A Certified Legal Video Specialist has to be prepared for the unexpected at all times. Typically, these surprises include last-minute job scheduling, additional unexpected attendees, and rooms almost too small to fit our equipment in. And so, we prepare for hours and pack a backup for our backup in case our backup fails.

Even with all this preparation, the most experienced CLVS gets thrown a curveball on occasion. Such was the case recently when I was scheduled to record a car seat expert for a motor vehicle accident. The job assignment was out of town, so I left the office plenty early in hopes of having a calm setup. Twenty minutes from my destination, my phone rang, and I was informed that the deposition had been rescheduled for three hours later. No problem! After an extended Target field trip, I arrived and was ready to go before the attorneys arrived.

All was well until the witness appeared — with four small children in tow. Three of the children ran into the room while the fourth was sleeping and strapped to his mother’s back. We were on the record only a few minutes when the youngest awakened and popped his head over his mother’s shoulder to see what all the noise was about. I expected the attorneys to go off the record, but they continued.

At first, the toddlers were playing a handheld video game – and we politely and repeatedly asked the toddlers to turn the volume down. After 20 minutes, they progressed to a water fight. Thankfully, we did go off the record, and I was able to protect my equipment from the water.

The witness also used this opportunity to breastfeed the young boy. The next few hours included the toddlers almost knocking over the reporter’s laptop, successfully knocking over my backdrop, and multiple breastfeeding breaks. Thankfully, no children were hurt!

I was hopeful the last few hours would be uneventful as I could tell the attorneys were losing their patience. My feelings were confirmed when the youngest started to fuss again and in a brief discussion off the record, I was asked to “just zoom in on her face” while she breastfed him.

Insert stunned emoji. Wait, you want me to what? Blink. Blink. The witness was in agreement, we could continue. I zoomed in and said a silent prayer as I closely monitored the framing of the witness’s face on my screen. Everything went smoothly for about ten minutes. Picture a mother’s face up close as she testifies about the different aspects of car seat safety.

And then it happened: The hand of the little boy being fed popped into the shot and started patting his mother’s cheek. Then, he patted her other cheek and back to the first. I could not believe what was happening. Just when you think it can’t get worse, he calmly stuck his fingers in her mouth. This didn’t even phase this mother.

I learned through the course of the day that she has six children total. The oldest two were at school, and the youngest four were in this room. Applause to the joys of motherhood.

The deposition concluded within a few minutes, and both sides ordered a copy of the video. I breathed a huge sigh of relief. I had calmly and successfully delivered an excellent video and experience despite all the challenges. The reporter had hung in there with me and coincidentally had the last name of Nelson. We now refer to this character-building experience as the “Baby Hands Nelson deposition.”

Andrea Kreutz, CLVS, is an agency owner based in Des Moines, Iowa. She can be reached at andreak@huneyvaughn.com.