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05/28/13 Please help us! Traduzione in Italiano
Travis Payne
(Associate Director/Choreographer, This Is It)
Defense Witness.

By WendyLovesMJ
Direct examination by Jessica Stebbins.

Court could not initially find Travis Payne today, when he was called to testify. Therefore,
Deputy coroner, Rogers was taken out of turn. Mr. Payne eventually appeared and took
the stand.

Q Tell me what you do as choreographer?
A I create dance steps and then teach them to the artist.

Q You are also a producer?
A Yes. I create concepts that are used in a production. See the idea from conception to
completion. Working on tours, music videos, shows, television.

Q What have you done in videos?

A I worked on making the recently released Michael Jackson dance video game. (Michael
Jackson Experience) I worked on it so the viewers can play the game and dance like Michael

Q Did you start off as a choreographer or a dancer?
A I started as a dancer. My first job was with Mick Jagger. Also have worked with Paula
Abdul, Diana Ross, Brandy, Marilyn Manson.

Q Are you still a dancer?
A Not a lot of time. I have termed it movement dancing.

Q And through the course of your career you have worked with Michael Jackson?
A Yes.

Q When was the first time you worked with Mr. Jackson?
A On the short film Remember The Time. I believe that was in 1992.

Q What did you do in that?
A I was a dancer.

(Stebbins plays a clip from Remember The Time video)

Q Did you work closely with Michael Jackson?
A Well I mean, that as the first time Id worked with him. I was a dancer. Didnt have a
relationship at that time. We did the shoot. I danced and went home.

Q And did you have an occasion to work with Mr. Jackson again?
A Yes.

Q How did you work with Mr. Jackson after that?
A Then after Remember The Time, I worked as a dancer and choreographer on the
Dangerous Tour.

Q How did you become the choreographer on the Dangerous Tour?
A I was asked to join The tour. And once on tour I established more of a rapport with
Michael. It was always his position to inspire and enlighten those around him, so after a show he
said he had to work on choreography. I worked on some of the steps and so I became a

Q What dance performances did you choreograph for the Dangerous Tour?

A I choreographed for the songs Dangerous, Jam and various other songs throughout the
tour. To be clear, many of Mr. Jacksons pieces existed before I joined him, so I incorporated
those steps as well as adding my own steps.

Q We had testimony earlier today from Stacy Walker. She said Michael Jackson would
perform the original choreography, but make small changes to it. Is that what youre talking
A Yes.

Q So you joined the Dangerous Tour. How long were you working on that tour?
A I joined the tour when it was already started, and then it ended in Mexico
Q At any point during the Dangerous Tour did you come to understand that Mr. Jackson was
misusing prescription medication?
A No. Not misusing. But it was general knowledge since the Pepsi commercial accident
that pain was an ongoing issue for him.

Q Did you see any signs that Michael Jackson was on drugs -- disorientated, stoned, high?
A No.

Q When the Dangerous Tour ended, Mr. Jackson publicly announced that he had a
dependence on pain killers. Did you hear about this?
A Yes.

Q Prior to Mr. Jackson publicly announcing his dependency on drugs, did you have
knowledge of that fact?
A No.

Q Did you enjoy working on the Dangerous Tour?
A Yes. It was always good to work with Michael.

Q How would you describe or characterize Mr. Jackson?
A Given the fact that since I was a young child, like many others, it was my dream to work
with Michael Jackson. So I was ecstatic on the Dangerous Tour. I was working with my idol,
being respected by him. It was a blessing. To be clear -- the relationship was productive, that was
the basis of our relationship.

Q After the Dangerous Tour, when was the next time you worked with Mr. Jackson?
A Chronologically, Im thinking it would have been History. No wait. The first time other
than Dangerous Tour was the 1993 American Music Awards. Then Ghost in1995. After that the
History Tour. And during that time we also did other televised shows and promotions for past and
present album packages.

Q So you worked with him many times since 1993?

A Yes.

Q Did you do anything different for the American Music Awards?
A It was definitely different. It was television production as opposed to live stage concert

Q Did you work with Michael Jackson on the production of his short film, Ghost?
A Yes.

Q Stacy Walker worked on that also, correct?
A Yes.

Q We heard testimony that there were different legs on Mr. Jacksons tours. On the History
Tour, did you work on all of the legs of that tour?
A No I didnt.

Q Which did you work on legs of the tour did you work on?
A I worked on two out of for. The beginning parts, not the ends.

Q Id like to take y back to the Dangerous Tour. Im going to show you video, okay?

(Stebbins plays a video clip from the Dangerous Tour)

Q Is this performance from the Dangerous Tour?
A Yes.

Q Does it accurately depict Mr. Jackson on that tour?
A Yes.

Q Again, you also worked on the History Tour with Michael Jackson?
A Yes.

Q Were you involved in preparing that tour?
A Yes.

Q And did that involve -- let me back up. Were you a choreographer or a dancer on the
History Tour?
A Both.

Q How did you go about preparing for the History Tour?
A There were a number of mechanical things that we had to make sure worked in tandem. I
worked with the dancers. I worked with ideas for costumes. And at that point, whatever else was

need that had to do with the creative or action on stage. Whatever I could get involved with, I

Q Do you recall how much time Mr. Jackson spent working with the dancers on this show?
Did he spend a lot of time rehearsing with the dancers?
A No, not extensively. But its safe to say Michael would get caught up to speed. He was
very good at giving people their space. And then he would join in.

Q On the This Is It Tour, you were working privately with Mr. Jackson with rehearsing, is
that right?
A Yes.

Q Had you worked privately with him on the History Tour rehearsals?
A No.

Q And how would you describe his performance on the History Tour?

Q Did you know of Michael Jackson taking any prescription medication on the History
A No.

Q I want to show you this performance footage. Id like you to tell me if it is from the
History Tour, okay? Thanks.

(Stebbins plays They Dont Care About Us clip)

Q Now were you on this leg of the History Tour?
A No I wasnt. I joined the tour at a later date.

Q Had you been on stage for this performance, you would have been standing behind Mr.
Jackson on the stage, correct?
A Yes. This is the History Tour. And these are shows that I helped to create. But was not
present on this part of the show.

Q Did you also work with Mr. Jackson on rehearsals for a special that was to be televised?
When was that?
A I dont know. It had been scheduled to take place at the Beacon Theatre in NYC. But the
show didnt happen. (HBO Special: One Night Only)

Q What type of show was this going to be?

A It was going to be a one time performance with Michael and his dancers. It was going to
have been shown live on cable television. I was one of dancers.

Q And the show never happened, correct?
A No it didnt.

Q What occurred to make the show not happen?

Boyle: Objection. Foundation. Judge: Overruled.

A I dont know exactly. I know there was a physical emergency with Michael. And I was
told that the show would not be happening.

Q Did you see Mr. Jackson appear to be in ill health?
A No.

Q Did you see drug use with Mr. Jackson?
A No.

Q What information were you ever informed of as to why the performance was not going to
A I know we were rehearsing and Michael had an incident. He fainted. We were told to
leave the theatre. His physician saw to him. And we were told the show would not happen.

Q Did Mr. Jackson have a physician with him on this show?
A I know physicians and staff attended to Michael on shows. The only one I dealt with
personally was dermatologist Dr. Klein and his nurse Debbie Rowe.

Q Mr. Jackson had dermatologist?
A Yes.

Q Debbie Rowe worked for Dr. Klein?
A Yes, they were the only ones I met. There were others doctors there, too. Most of time
there was always a personal care person for Michael.

Q Did you ever see any signs of Michael Jackson having problems with drugs?
A No.

Q Did you ever see any signs of Michael Jackson being on prescription medication?
A No.

Q Did you ever see any signs of Michael Jackson being having problems with alcohol?
A No.

Q Did you ever see any signs of Michael Jackson using drugs?
A No.

Q Did you ever see any signs of Michael Jackson take any medications?
A No.

Q Did you ever see any signs of Michael Jackson drink alcohol?
A No. Not that I can recall.

Q You saw no signs of addiction in Mr. Jackson in all the times you worked with him prior
to 2009?
A No. We did the BET Awards, we would perform together on many occasions. We did the
Dangerous Tour, there were many varied appearances.

(15 minute break)

Q You were saying you worked with Michael Jackson on many shows and performances,
A Yes. For the BET Awards, Michael did You Are Not Alone.

Q Would you say you worked closely with him?
A Yes.

Q In the past, did you work every day with Mr. Jackson on a project?
A Every day we were scheduled to work on.

Q Can you give me a number?
A No.

Q When was last time you worked with Mr. Jackson before This Is It?
A That would have been the History Tour.

Q And that tour ended in 1998?
A Yes. 1998.

Q How did happen you came to work on This Is It?
A Id been working with Kenny. He is a mentor to me, just like Michael was. Michael
reached out to Kenny Ortega, who I was currently working with in Las Vegas. For Wynn Hotel
Casino. We were having lunch and Mr. Ortega got a call from Mr. Jackson, wanting to meet with

Q Do you remember when that was?
A The first meeting I think was prior to -- I believe the first physical meeting was right
after his press conference on London.

Q Did you talk with Mr. Jackson on phone?
A No.

Q So the first time you met with him was at the press conference in London?
A Yes.

Q What was that meeting about?
A It was at Michaels Carolwood home. It was very exciting. We were getting back to
work. Mr. Jackson expressed his complete excitement and was talking about what we had to do
to prepare. It was brain storm. How about if we tried this, how about if we tried that.

Q Did he explain why he wanted you?
A Yes. It was time. This is it. He wanted to share these experiences with his children. He
was excited. He missed it. He missed the direct contact with his fans. He wanted to get out their.
He was concerned about the condition of the planet. He wanted to talk about taking care of the
planet and each other.

Q You meet with Mr. Jackson in March, shortly after the London press conference --

Panish: Objection. Misstates the testimony. Judge: Sustained.

Q Did you know where the press conference was?
A Its common knowledge. It was after that.

Q What month was it that you met with Mr. Jackson?
A Let me think -- it was April.

Q When you saw Mr. Jackson at that meeting, how did he look?
A He looked fine to me health wise. He looked thinner than in the past, but nothing

Q Did you notice in Mr. Jackson any intoxication, prescription drug abuse?
A No.

Panish: Objection. No foundation.

Q Over the course of your history in the entertainment business, have you noticed people
drunk or on alcohol?

A Yes.

Q Can you tell the appearance of intoxication?
A Yes.

Q Um. And anyone you have observed on drugs --

Panish: Objection. No foundation. I object on drugs, prescription medication
qualifications. Judge: Overruled.

Q Im just asking, did you know Mr. Jackson to be disoriented, shaky, not well? Did you
observe any abnormal behavior?
A At the meeting?

Q Yes.
A No.

Q What did you think your role would be on the This Is It Tour?
A I came to find out that I would not be a dancer. I would be the associate director and

Q Was that the first time you did associate directing?
A No. The first time with Michael.

Q So you had experience in the directorial side?
A Yes.

Q Was Mr. Jackson also involved in the direction of the tour?
A Yes, he and Kenny decided.

Q Was Mr. Jackson also involved in the choreography?
A Yes, he and Kenny decided.

Q Lets close up the timeline. Your first meeting with Michael Jackson was in April

(Stebbins begins to show an exhibit)

Panish: Objection. No foundation.

Stebbins: I will lay foundation.

Panish: Objection. Exhibit is an email. Witness is not in it -- its not CCd to him.

Judge: Overruled.

Stebbins: You can see the entire email.

Payne reads the email.

Q I want to ask you whether Mr. Jackson met you in March or April? It appears to be late
A Yes.

Q After you met with Mr. Jackson, did you continue to work with him on the tour
A Yes.

Q Was this tour different from previous tours?
A Yes. This time it was a partnership, not a promotion. AEG would be a partner in This Is
It, not a sponsor.

Q What is the difference between being a partner as opposed to being a sponsor?
A Sponsors make investments and the show happens. Thats it. You dont see reps daily.
For This Is It -- it was a partnership. Because AEG have facilities all over the world, it was a
partnership. Michael told my: This is good. AEG have all these facilities. He was excited to
work with AEG.

Q What did you do on This Is It?
A I not only worked with the crew, I also worked with Michael to refresh his memory on
what dances existed. Then maybe change and better some of them. I worked on all of these
things. And on the order of the songs in the tour.

Q Who were you working with?
A Michael, Kenny, the band director, editor -- and my associate, Stacy Walker. Just like
today we have assistant choreographer, Tony.

Q In terms of decisions on the show -- whose idea was it? Who made the decisions?
A Everything started with Michael, always. As his support team, we would add to that. We
would contribute ideas.

Q Who had the final say on the content of the show?
A Michael.

Q Was Mr. Jackson involved in the production?
A Yes.

Q Was Mr. Jackson involved in auditioning the dancers?

A Yes.

Q What was his role?
A After I found out I was not going to be a dancer in This Is It, I said: Lets find the best
dancers in the world and put them together. After that process happened, Michael came at the end
of the days, to see the process. Once he got the sense of them, he hired them. Kenny Ortega, me
and Stacy Walker auditioned some 5,000 dancers. We got it down to the best of the best. Then
Michael chose them.

Q Was Mr. Jackson involved in selecting the musicians?
A Well, he was involved in selecting the band leader. Jonathan Moffett was there. Also
Dorian. He had been a vocalist on previous tours. He was the vocal director, that way there were
known people in departments mixed with new people.

Q So the band director would have new people under him?
A Yes.

Q Was Mr. Jackson involved in this process?
A Yes.

(Stebbins shows email exhibit from Payne to Michael Bearden)

Payne: Could we -- can read the whole thing through, okay.

Judge gives him her copy.

Payne: Oh. Okay, yes.

Q What is this email about?
A One of the iconic symbols Michael had already used was a torch. It was symbolic. He
wanted it in This Is It, but he wanted the perfect creator for it. I believe that was an effort to give
another artist a great opportunity. This torch in particular was of Italian Baroque design. He was
concerned where it was. And he wanted two of them in case one broke. It was a detail he was
concerned about.

Q Okay. Turn your attention to an email from Mr. Ortega to you, referring to Zolge. Who
was Zolge?
A A singer.

Q In the email, Mr. Ortega is saying something about Billie Jean. What is that referring to?
A This time Billie Jean was going to illuminate. We went through the process or securing
that technology. The costume would light up.

Q Was Mr. Jackson involved in that?
A Yes.

Q At the bottom of the email, it says our partner is specific about the -- Whos the partner?
A Michael Jackson.

Q Michael Jackson was involved?
A Not only involved, also approving and signing rights. Patrick came up with lighting that
he designed. And then Michael would look at it and make improvements, adjustments if he liked.

(Stebbins shows memo)

Q Is this a document you created?
A Yes.

Q Do you remember this specific meeting? Was it on March 29
A This would have been after that meeting, to update the team.

Q What is this document?
A Its just a memo, shared with the creative individuals. Relaying ideals or goals for the

Q Would you have made these memos during a meeting?
A Well I would have made these after.

Q Would you do typing close to that time?
A Yes.

Q Who attended the creative meetings?
A It depends on what was being discussed.

Q Would Mr. Jackson always be there?
A Sometimes he would call the meeting. Let me strike that. There would be meetings in
preparation for Michael.

Q Was Mr. Ortega at all of the meetings?
A I would say if it had to do with conceptual or creative -- he would be there.

Q Did you attend?
A Yes.

Q How often was Michael Jackson there?

A I dont know.

Q More than half?
A Yes, more than half.

Q What did you discuss in the meetings?
A Everything. Logistics, length of show, merchandise to be purchased. The general feeling
of what the show should be, particularly about the mechanics of the stage work. How the outside
of the O2 Arena would be decorated.

Q What were the time periods of rehearsals?
A From March to when he died.

Q How often did you speak to Mr. Jackson?
A Almost every day.

Q Would you just talk about the show or other things?
A It was mostly about the shows, or his children. We liked to talk about our mothers a lot.

Q Did you create the show and go away and then Mr. Jackson comes in?
A No, thats what I expected would happen. But Michael told me -- he made clear to me
that he expected me at every show, taking notes. He wanted to know if something was not
perfect. He wanted me to be his eyes. Ive dont this before. I was told I was expected to stay the
whole time.

Q Do you know who was setting the rehearsal schedule?
A I would assume the higher up in production, with Michaels approval.

Q At the beginning of the This Is It tour rehearsals, you were at Center Staging?
A Yes. I dont know the exact dates we were at Center Staging, but on any of the
documents you will see the schedule.

(Stebbins shows rehearsal calendar. Payne says he has never seen this one.)

Q Does this refresh you memory?
A Do you have June? Can I see June?

Q Okay. We can go back to May, I believe Center Staging was May. How often did you see
Mr. Jackson?
A Well, customarily we would see each other every day. I would see him every day except
when he didnt come.

Q Did you rehearse at Mr. Jacksons home?
A These were scheduled 5 days a week.

Q And did you go 5 days a week?
A Yes.

Q How often did you see him?
A It varied. I would go for private rehearsal at Carolwood. Michael would not turn up until

Q How often did you rehearse with Mr. Jackson?
A Very often.

Q So you saw him frequently?
A Yes.

Q Almost daily?
A Yes.

Q In this time that you were working with Michael Jackson -- you were meeting, dancing,
meeting, dancing, planning, correct?
A Yes.

(Stebbins shows exhibit. Payne read it.)

Q What is this document?
A It just looks like another schedule for May 12

Q What does it all refer to?
A Its the location -- Michaels house. Wardrobe. Kenny after that. Center Staging for 1
hour. Rehearsal before lunch. After lunch -- a 3D video meeting with the directors of the show
and Michael. 3:30 -- discussion of the show rundown, or rundown of previous days events. 4:30
-- session with Michaels vocal trainer.

Q Would this be a typical day during the time at Center Staging?
A Yes there was always people to meet, discussions to have, and if specific people had to
be at the meeting, this schedule would be send out to them.

Q These were sent out all the time?
A Not all the time. Just when crucial.

Q Did you lunch with Michael?
A Sometimes.

Q Did he eat well?
A It varied. His appetite depended on the day.

Q You would get in front of mirror to rehearse. Did you work more hours then this?
A Yes.

Q What other hours did you work? What was your schedule?
A Well from 2pm to 4-5pm I would work doing the private sessions at Carolwood. Then
resume with the company at Staples until 6pm.

Q These would have been shorter dance rehearsals with Mr. Jackson because of the busy
A Yes. I would go to his house, then go to company rehearsals.

Q Was there increasingly less time rehearsing?
A Yes. As we got closer to the schedule we did less private rehearsing.

Q When you were dancing with Michael Jackson at his Carolwood house, how did he
A His dancing seemed fine to me, we worked on things that had been created decades
before. So it took time to re-imagine them. To make sure they were age appropriate.

Q What do you mean?
A When youre 30 you can do more then when youre 50.

Q Was that case with Mr. Jackson?
A Yes.

Q Was he age appropriate to you?
A Yes.

Q Id like to show you another exhibit, rehearsal schedule. The top part says Michael,
Travis -- Jam, They Dont Care About Us and Drill.
A Yes.

Q You helped choreograph and design Jam On the Dangerous Tour, is that correct?
A Yes.

Q What was Drill?

A That was a new piece for This Is It. A military piece. It was the prelude They Dont Care
About Us.

Q Something that had not been done before, correct?
A Correct

Q Did you work with Mr. Jackson on it?
A Yes.

Q Tell me about that?
A Michael wanted to execute a movement whilst he was not singing. Something that had
precision. Michael came back with something from Mind Is Magic. Then we put them together.
That was the last thing we worked on. He had a great love for military precision.

Q These personal rehearsals with Mr. Jackson at Carol wood -- these were 3 hour work
A Yes.

Q Continuous?
A No. We would a take 10 minute break. Then resume.

Stebbins: One more exhibit, any objections.

Panish: Go ahead.

(Stebbins exhibits another schedule)

Q Did you created this?
A No ,I didnt create it.

Q Did someone else give it to you, then?
A Yes.

Q Can you read it?
A Danielle work out, Alex.

Q Who is Danielle?
A She was one of our performers. Alex was her understudy. Then there is a photoshoot.
Bush. Toasters -- that would mean pieces of floor that pops a person out of the ground. Crane --
Mr. Jackson would ride over the audience. Lunch. Vocal session at Michaels house. Then
Michael comes to the Forum. Full company on stage.

Q You were at rehearsals with Mr. Jackson from 2pm to 5pm at his house?
A Yes.

Q And you worked how often with Mr. Jackson at his house?
A Almost every day. Less as we got into the process. Whether there were problems with
Michael or not, the production needed him to be onsite at rehearsals with the cast. Because it was
time for everyone to be onsite together. That was main reason. Likewise, production wanted to
make sure Michael was coming. Sometimes we would have our private sessions. But production
insisted we work less at the house, as we were needed at rehearsals. He seemed very tired, we all

Q During the private rehearsal sessions that Mr. Jackson worked with you, he was actively
A Yes.

Q Why did he miss rehearsals?
A I dont know. He was tied up sometimes.

Q Did he have good days and bad days?
A Yes.

Q Was there a pattern?
A No. No pattern.

Q Regarding Mr. Jackson missing rehearsals. You said there was a time when production
wanted Michael Jackson to attend rehearsals. Were they worried about his ability to perform or
was --
A I dont know exactly.

Panish: Objection. Judge: Stricken.

Q You dont know anything about it?

Judge: He doesnt know.

Q Did you have any understanding there were concerns about Mr. Jackson not attending
rehearsals because there were inconsistencies at rehearsals?
A Production were concerned we would not have enough time to work with him.

Q Did you think Michael Jackson would pull off the This Is It Tour?

A I did.

Q Did you think Mr. Jackson thought he would pull off the This Is It Tour?
A Of course.

Q Okay. Can I talk to you a moment about Mr. Jacksons vocals?
A Okay.

Q I there anything you know -- do you know what Michael Jacksons plans were about
going fully live?
A Yes, I know because Michael told me he wanted to sing all of the songs live.

Q Had he done this in any tour before?
A He did not do them all live before.

Q So if he didnt have to move as much, he would sing all of the songs live?
A Yes. Unless he had a vocal issue, he would sing everything live.

Q And in previous tours when Mr. Jackson did heavy dancing, and running around the stage
-- he would have a particle vocal track.
A Yes.

Q What are partial vocals?
A Like the first two lines, then not the other. Then come back in, into complete track.

Q And if he was short of breath he would be able to sing less.
A It would be up to him and his technician.

Q On This Is It, Mr. Jackson wanted to sing live?
A He wanted to sing live. He had sung live before, but not a complete show. But this was
his goal. By June 25
he hadnt reached his goal of singing all songs live.

(Court adjourned for the day. Continued direct examination of Payne tomorrow)