Fellow Travelers Directory

AndACTION is one of several groups working at the intersection of entertainment and social change. We are in awe of what our allies and partners are doing in the space – and as proof, we have shamelessly linked to their tools and great ideas throughout our site. Check out our frequently updated list of these groups below. Rather than try to explain what they do, we are letting them tell you in their own words via links to their homepages and excerpts from their websites. Select an organizational category, below, or scroll down for the full list.

Entertainment Industry Focused
Original Content Creation
Issue Specific Groups Working in Entertainment Media
Measurement & Impact Evaluation
Working With Filmmakers, Entertainment & Pop Culture
International Region-Specific Organizations
Power of Story
Entertainment Industry Associations

Entertainment Industry Focused

The organizations below primarily focus on helping film and TV writers and producers cover a variety of social and environmental issues in their work. Explore their websites for examples, ideas and proof of the power of story. You might want to get in touch with them if your issue area seems to jive with their interests.

Common Sense Media

“Common Sense is dedicated to helping kids thrive in a world of media and technology. We empower parents, teachers, and policymakers by providing unbiased information, trusted advice, and innovative tools to help them harness the power of media and technology as a positive force in all kids’ lives. Media and technology are at the very center of all our lives today — especially our children’s. Kids today spend over 50 hours of screen time every week…But parents, teachers, and policymakers struggle to keep up with the rapidly changing digital world in which our children live and learn. Now more than ever, they need a trusted guide to help them navigate a world where change is the only constant. Common Sense Media helps families make smart media choices. We offer the largest, most trusted library of independent age-based and educational ratings and reviews for movies, games, apps, TV shows, websites, books, and music.”

Environmental Media Association

“The Environmental Media Association believes that through television, film and music, the entertainment community has the power to influence the environmental awareness of millions of people. This initial concept set the stage for our 1989 launch and it remains a core EMA tenet today. EMA mobilizes the entertainment industry in educating people about environmental issues, which in turn, inspires them to take action. A pioneer in linking the power of celebrity to environmental awareness, it was EMA who invented the ‘green carpet,’ launching the concept of taking a hybrid or alternative fuel vehicle – not a limo – to high profile awards events and bringing the concept of alternative automotive technology to millions of previously unaware households.”

GLAAD

“GLAAD brings LGBT characters and plotlines to movie theaters, television sets and even comic books — working with writers, producers and studios to ensure accurate and diverse representations of LGBT people on the big and small screens…The Entertainment Media Program monitors film, television, music, and related entertainment media to ensure inclusive and accurate portrayals of the LGBT community. When anti-LGBT content runs, GLAAD speaks out about why anti-LGBT attitudes and content have no place in the media. The staff also works with TV and film studio executives, producers and scriptwriters to provide script consultations and to advocate for the inclusion of LGBT people in an effort to spark conversations about LGBT issues in living rooms and around water coolers. GLAAD releases the annual ‘Where We Are on TV’ study which measures the number of LGBT characters on television and the ‘Network Responsibility Index’ which ranks networks on their levels of LGBT inclusion.”

Global Media Center for Social Impact

“The Global Media Center for Social Impact (GMI) works to unleash the transformative potential of storytelling by supporting writers in their efforts to create the most captivating and realistic stories possible on issues of social value. The organization provides the entertainment industry with free, on-demand access to leading experts and cutting-edge resources on topics such as health, immigration, racial justice, America’s prison crisis, the environment, LGBT/gender equality and more. From script reviews and writers’ room consultations to off-site visits and special events, GMI facilitates experiences for industry professionals that inspire them to create stories that entertain, engage and empower viewers to make change on issues that matter to them.”

Hollywood, Health and Society

“Hollywood, Health & Society (HH&S) is a program at the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center that provides entertainment industry professionals with accurate and timely information for health storylines…[T]he program recognizes the profound impact that entertainment media have on individual knowledge and behavior. In partnership with our funding agencies, we offer several resources, including quick facts, briefings and consultations with experts, case examples, panel discussions about timely health issues, a quarterly newsletter with health updates called ‘Real to Reel,’ and an expanding list of tip sheets written specifically for writers and producers…The broad range of topics includes influenza, toxic mold, smallpox, cancer, autism, motor vehicle crashes, obesity, adolescent health issues, antibiotic resistance, clinical trials and much more.”

The Science and Entertainment Exchange

“The Science & Entertainment Exchange (The Exchange) is a program of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) that connects entertainment industry professionals with top scientists and engineers to create a synergy between accurate science and engaging storylines in both film and TV programming. From a quick fact check to a special briefing, The Exchange provides quick and easy access to experts from all the scientific disciplines. The goal of The Exchange is to use the vehicle of popular entertainment media to deliver sometimes subtle, but nevertheless powerful, messages about science.”

Women’s Media Center

“The Women’s Media Center—founded by Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan, and Gloria Steinem—has the goal of making women visible and powerful in the media. The Women’s Media Center shows you what you don’t see. By training women and girls to be media ready and media savvy, the Women’s Media Center is changing the face of media. By curating original content from extraordinary women writers, we amplify the voices and concerns of women. We put women in the picture in all our diversity. By monitoring and calling out media sexism, launching petitions, inviting watch-ins, organizing tweet-ups, and other activist campaigns, we are holding media accountable for an equal voice and equal participation. If you can see it, you can be it.”

Original Content Creation

There are many social and environmental issue-focused production companies out there that are worth checking out. Here are a few that create film or TV for social good.  

Brave New Films

“Our mission is to champion social justice issues by using a model of media, education, and grassroots volunteer involvement that inspires, empowers, motivates and teaches civic participation and makes a difference. Robert Greenwald and Brave New Films are creating a better America, and we want you to join us. Using media, films, volunteers and internet video campaigns, Brave New Films has created a quick-strike capability that informs the public, challenges mainstream media with the truth, and motivates people to take action on social issues nationwide. From exposing the private prison crisis to helping middle class and poor workers to understanding where your tax dollars are going, our groundbreaking social media campaigns have revolutionized activism. We are reaching millions through YouTube, bloggers, networking sites, and strategic partnerships — and we’re getting results.”

Department of Expansion

“Whether you’re a foundation striving to end poverty, a scientist connecting brain chemistry with criminal justice reform or an activist reimagining public education, you’ll need large groups of people to get behind your idea and take action to help you realize your vision. And that’s where we are a little different. We are a production company that delivers lean, beautiful films. But we are also strategists who can help you from the beginning to understand how to make the film go to work for you. We’ll even stay in the trenches with you to make sure the film delivers results.”

Participant Media

“Participant Media is a global entertainment company founded in 2004 by Jeff Skoll to focus on feature film, television, publishing and digital content that inspires social change. Through social action campaigns tied to its more than 60 films to date, its digital network and its television network, Participant seeks to entertain, encourage and empower every individual to take action.”

Population Media Center

“Population Media Center (PMC) creates serialized dramas, also called soap operas, on radio and television in which characters evolve into role models for the audience for positive behavior change. PMC is a nonprofit, international nongovernmental organization, which strives to improve the health and well-being of people around the world by addressing a variety of issues. Founded in 1998, PMC has over 15 years of field experience in behavior change communications with projects around the world. This project has had storylines focusing on health as well as race. PMC has recently broadcast East Los High, a TV serial drama on Hulu.com, which has consistently ranked as one of the most popular programs on the site. It was the first Hollywood production to feature an all-Latino cast and resulted in more than 25,000 people using Planned Parenthood widgets to find out if they should be tested for sexually transmitted infections or for pregnancy in its first month of broadcast.”

Super Rad Films

From a Huffington Post article: “[David] Donihue is a Next Wave director. Although his all-time favorite music video is Aha’s Take On Me, he’s no retro ‘80s act. He’s current without being trendy. He’s hip without hipster pretensions. And although he often sets moving images to a throbbing dance beat, his creations are anything but superficial. They shock. They excite. And at their best, Donihue’s mini musical epics demand social change. Especially in Soldier which has already reached a million YouTube views just a week after its release. While tackling the topic of sex trafficking.”

Wire Walker Studios

“At Wire Walker Studios, we believe that we have a responsibility to tell daring, edgy, impactful stories that are as socially meaningful as they are entertaining. Story-driven media can spark a conversation, inspire people to take action, and create meaningful change. We are a team of award-winning filmmakers who are pioneering a movement of high-quality socially-conscious film. We work in fiction and documentary style, helping clients communicate through striking visuals, immersive sound, and captivating narrative. We are located in Los Angeles, California, and Toronto, Ontario.”

Wise Entertainment

“Wise Entertainment produces content aimed at setting a new standard for Hollywood — original, current, entertaining, diverse, edgy and socially conscious. Our Development Method uses a unique process that combines extensive research with rich storytelling to generate gritty, dramatic, and meaningful stories that challenge audiences to go beneath the surface. The ‘proof of concept’ came through the award winning, hit drama series, East Los High. The first English-language show with an all-Latino cast, creators, and writers, premiered on Hulu in 2013 and is now launching Season 3. Wise Entertainment is committed to creating diverse programming and meaningful stories for the mainstream. Matching unparalleled creative teams with an innovative approach, Wise Entertainment’s content uniquely connects to today’s audiences.”

Issue Specific Groups Working in Entertainment Media

Only a handful of organizations focus exclusively on entertainment industry outreach, but a growing number of groups have staff members or departments dedicated to film and TV. Check out the following groups’ websites to see the work they have done to connect popular culture to social and environmental issues.

ColorOfChange

“ColorOfChange.org exists to strengthen Black America’s political voice. Our goal is to empower our members – Black Americans and our allies – to make government more responsive to the concerns of Black Americans and to bring about positive political and social change for everyone. We were heart-broken and outraged by the catastrophe that followed Hurricane Katrina. And we were devastated to realize that no African-American organization or coalition had the capacity to respond on the necessary scale. Hurricane Katrina made it clear that our lack of a political voice has life-and-death consequences. With no one to speak for them, hundreds of thousands of people – largely Black, poor, and elderly – were left behind to die. But it wasn’t just Black folks. Poor, sick, and elderly people of every color were abandoned too. We are not alone, and when we work to protect Black lives and interests, we do the same for all who have been left behind in political silence. ColorOfChange.org is comprised of Black folks from every economic class, as well as those of every color who seek to help our voices be heard. Our members are united behind a simple, powerful pledge: we will do all we can to make sure all Americans are represented, served, and protected – regardless of race or class.”

Human Rights Campaign

“As the largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans, the Human Rights Campaign represents a force of more than 1.5 million members and supporters nationwide — all committed to making HRC’s vision a reality. HRC envisions a world where lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.”

NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)

“There is no other organization that has confronted the misuse of media to influence negative public attitudes toward race like the NAACP. As early as 1915, it organized a nationwide protest against the negative portrayals of African Americans in Birth of A Nation. The founding members of the Association immediately understood the power and influence of the then new media of film. The Association has also been at the forefront of the struggle for the inclusion of all Americans, regardless of race, in the entertainment industry. Today, the NAACP has a Hollywood Bureau that deals with issues of diversity programming and minority employment in Hollywood.”

The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy

“The Entertainment Media Program works to get messages about teen pregnancy, unplanned pregnancy, contraception, prevention, and consequences to our target audiences via the entertainment content they already like to consume (TV, social media, magazines, websites, blogs, etc.). The National Campaign has partnered with over 100 top media outlets, and our messaging has been featured in more than 4,700 television shows, magazine articles, and webisodes between 2008-2014 alone. These partnerships have allowed our PSA placements to reach nearly 4 million individuals. The Entertainment Media department has collaborated with a wide variety of entertainment media programs, including Teen Mom, 16 & Pregnant, and other popular shows depicting pregnancy or birth control use. Research has shown that Teen Mom and 16 & Pregnant accounted for one-third of the drastic decline in teen pregnancy between 2008 and 2011, with Campaign researchers finding that, for 82% of young people, shows like 16 & Pregnant help them understand the challenges and consequences of teen pregnancy.”

RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network)

“RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization and was named one of ‘America’s 100 Best Charities’ by Worth magazine. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE and online.rainn.org) in partnership with more than 1,100 local rape crisis centers across the country, and operates the DoD Safe Helpline for the Department of Defense. RAINN also carries out programs to prevent sexual violence, help victims and ensures that rapists are brought to justice.”

Measurement & Impact Evaluation

See our section How to Measure for a list of great groups working on impact evaluation.

Working With Filmmakers, Entertainment & Pop Culture

The following groups create campaigns and other activities for specific films or pop culture opportunities to deepen our understanding of how media and entertainment work in our society.

Active Voice Lab

“Today’s social movements need powerful stories as much as they need leadership, policy research, grassroots organizing, funding, and other fuels. And while film can be a potent tool for change, we know that film alone is not enough. In our experience, real change comes about when a host of interested sectors — an ecosystem — work together, each bringing to the table what they do best. Some have cutting-edge information, some have trusted relationships with grassroots networks, some have access to policy arenas. And some — the storytellers — have the ability to engage people with compelling narratives. Active Voice works with all of these Ecosystem of Change agents to help them think carefully and strategically about how they can use storytelling to achieve sustained impact.”

Citizen Engagement Laboratory

“CEL was created in 2008 by Ian Inaba, James Rucker, and Daniel Souweine as a home for social entrepreneurs like themselves and a launching pad for new ideas and people powered projects that seek to change the world by leveraging the power of the internet. Since then, CEL has worked with dozens of startups, entrepreneurs, and philanthropic partners to expand the impact and reach of people powered change.”

Cultural Pulse (a project of Citizen Engagement Laboratory)

“The Cultural Pulse is a new service that helps progressives power up with the pop culture beat. With our digital media products and tool sets, change makers can access and use pop culture news, storylines and fandoms to move messages around their issues, reach new audiences and advance campaigns.”

Harry Potter Alliance

“The Harry Potter Alliance turns fans into heroes. We’re changing the world by making activism accessible through the power of story. Since 2005, we’ve engaged millions of fans through our work for equality, human rights, and literacy….We believe in magic. We believe that unironic enthusiasm is a renewable resource. We know fantasy is not only an escape from our world, but an invitation to go deeper into it. We celebrate the power of community—both online and off. We believe that the weapon we have is love.”

Picture Motion

“Picture Motion is the leading marketing and advocacy firm for issue driven films. We work with filmmakers and change makers to amplify awareness, expose injustice, and drive activism, with the goal of advancing social change. With offices in Los Angeles, New York and Washington D.C., we provide unmatched experience, services and influence. This powerful combination allows us to seamlessly handle all aspects of a social action campaign, from strategy & planning to project management and activation. Depending on the type of impact our partner is committed to, tactics can include partnership development, grassroots screening tours, digital engagement, policy & government relations, and impact measurement. Films can change the world. We make sure they do.”

TakePart

“TakePart is a digital news and lifestyle magazine featuring independent journalism on today’s most important, socially relevant topics, alongside a social action platform. Our goal is simple: to take you beyond the breaking news ticker and help you discover how the world’s most pressing issues touch your life. We tell stories and offer you the chance to get involved through Participant Media’s Social Action Network…TakePart is the digital division of Participant Media, the company that brought you acclaimed documentaries such as CITIZENFOUR, An Inconvenient Truth, and Food, Inc. and feature films such as Lincoln and Spotlight. Participant was founded on the belief that a good story well told can truly make a difference in how people see and affect the world. That mission remains the same for us today.”

The USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center

“The Norman Lear Center is a nonpartisan research and public policy center that studies the social, political, economic and cultural impact of entertainment on the world. The Lear Center translates its findings into action through testimony, journalism, strategic research and innovative public outreach campaigns. On campus, from its base in the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, the Lear Center builds bridges between schools and disciplines whose faculty study aspects of entertainment, media and culture. Beyond campus, it helps bridge the gap between the entertainment industry and academia, and between them and the public. Through scholarship and research; through its conferences, public events and publications; through its role in the formulation of the academic field of entertainment studies; and in its attempts to illuminate and repair the world, the Norman Lear Center works to be at the forefront of discussion and practice in the field.”

International Region-Specific Organizations

The groups below work with filmmakers outside of the U.S. on prosocial storylines and campaigns. 

Asian Center for Entertainment Education/The Third Eye (India)

“The Third Eye Project is a collaborative endeavour between the Asian Center for Entertainment Education, India, and Hollywood, Health and Society (HH&S) at the Norman Lear Center, University of Southern California. It is one of the two Global Centres, the other being in Nigeria, which is funded by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, primarily to harness the power of media and entertainment and to spread awareness and information about key health, sustainable development and climate change issues. The Third Eye connects creative communities (producers, writers, authors, directors and journalists) to experts across various fields (doctors, lawyers, public health specialists, environmentalists, etc.) and is the bridge between creative communities and the priorities of our times.

Nollywood Workshops (Nigeria)

“Nollywood Workshops is a high-impact film company and hub for filmmakers. We are a nonprofit organization with offices in Lagos, Nigeria and Cambridge, Massachusetts. We believe in the power of movies to inspire and engage audiences, throughout Africa and beyond. We make movies and train moviemakers to reach their audience. We bring the principles of entertainment, craft, and impact to life in our movies and extend them to our network of filmmakers and partners. We do this through film production and our hub of filmmaker services, including technical training, social action advisory, and consulting.”

Soul City Institute (South Africa)

“The Soul City Institute for Health & Development Communication is proud to be considered one of the world’s most influential social and behavioural change programmes. To this end, we’re chiefly focused on sharing information and effecting social norms, attitudes and practice for the better…Our award winning edutainment television drama series, Soul City Its Real highlights social and health issues and possible solutions using real stories our audience can relate to…The SCI mass media communication vehicles span prime-time TV and radio (both drama and talkshows) across all languages and high-quality booklets translated into Zulu, Xhosa, Setswana, Sotho and Afrikaans., and also the Internet and new media. For continental development purposes Soul City partners with organisations across the SADC region.”

Power of Story

Interested in how your nonprofit can learn how to tell its own story better? Visit the organizations below!

The Goodman Center

“The Goodman Center was launched in 1998 as a goodman, a one-person company with a singular mission: to help good causes reach more people with more impact. Over time, we became known for our workshops in storytelling, presenting, strategic communications and more…In 2008 we partnered with Lipman Hearne, one of the nation’s leading marketing and communications firms, to develop online versions of our workshops and create a virtual school ‘where do-gooders learn to do better.’ We named it The Goodman Center.”

Hatch for Good

“Hatch for Good acts like a concierge, connecting you to a suite of tools and a growing community to help you leverage storytelling to drive social impact and improve the lives of the poor and vulnerable around the world. Stories with purpose don’t just materialize—they’re strategically planned, they’re creatively crafted, and they’re designed to achieve measurable outcomes…Hatch for Good has four interactive sections, each designed to help you strategically craft, curate and share stories to drive social impact. As you answer questions, you will be provided with suggested tools, case studies, and resources that are customized to your needs. These recommendations will always be saved to your profile so you can access them later. As you build your storytelling profile, you can explore case studies, guides on the latest platforms and look for ideas from storytelling thought leaders in the Explore section. These resources can also be saved to your profile for later use.”

Entertainment Industry Associations

The following guilds and councils often participate in, spearhead or support filmmakers, studios and networks in their social and environmental actions and initiatives.

Entertainment Industries Council

“In 1983, The Entertainment Industries Council, Inc. (EIC) was founded by leaders in the entertainment industry. EIC implements its mission through the following means: Encouraging the entertainment industry to more effectively address and accurately depict major health and social issues. Serving as a bridge for information between the entertainment industry and public policy members. Being instrumental in affecting social change through providing educational materials, research and training for entertainment industries. Promoting and recognizing the accomplishments of the entertainment industry in addressing public health and social issues.
Developing programs to foster volunteerism to support public and private partnerships designed to serve the entertainment industry workplace and further enhance the industry’s outreach to the general public.”

Entertainment Industry Foundation

“The Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), as a leading charitable organization of the entertainment industry, harnesses the collective power of the entire industry to raise awareness and funds for critical health, educational and social issues in order to make a positive impact in our community and throughout the nation. Thanks to the commitment of an extraordinary number of people and companies, EIF is able to champion a wide variety of worthy causes. EIF’s national initiatives raise awareness and crucial funds to address leading health and social issues.”

International Documentary Association

“Documentary storytelling expands our understanding of shared human experience, fostering an informed, compassionate, and connected world. The International Documentary Association (IDA) is dedicated to building and serving the needs of a thriving documentary culture. Through its programs, the IDA provides resources, creates community, and defends rights and freedoms for documentary artists, activists, and journalists.”

 

 

If you are (or know of) a fellow traveler we should add to our list, let us know!