Superheroes leap. Lovers kiss. Tsunami waves crash. Anything can happen when a director calls “ACTION.”

Borrowing the onscreen spark that results when the camera slate snaps, AndACTION captures the energy of film and television to motivate action in the real world.

Imagine if people engaged in your cause with the same intensity that they watch Star Wars or Scandal. The fact is, organizations like yours need stories to win hearts and minds. Yet few groups are using the most powerful stories around, which are served up nightly on shows like Fresh Off the Boat and throughout the year in films like Selma.

AndACTION is the only pop culture hub that gives nonprofits inside intel on upcoming film and TV storylines that feature their issues. We hunt down leads and suggest creative ways for you to use them for maximum impact. That puts you a step ahead today of what everyone will be talking about tomorrow – and makes sure you’ll be part of the conversation.

Characters from Jane the Virgin, Transparent and Blackish invite us into their lives and help make immigration, gender identity and racial justice feel less hypothetical – and more like real issues facing good friends. What we see on TV and in the movies affects how we feel about issues and the way we talk about them. Simply put, pop culture is an untapped tool that can drive huge culture shifts.

By taking advantage of a heads-up hub like ours, you can harness the power of popular stories to energize the people who watch them. Organizations can use storylines to spotlight their issues in a variety of ways, like online features, social media campaigns or in-person events. AndACTION gives groups an endless supply of compelling stories to move eyeballs from the screen to their work, making it easy to plug into the buzz and reach more people than ever before.

And people are ready to respond. According to a Harmony Institute study on social media use by Walking Dead viewers, “moments or scenes that produced high levels of brain activity also produced high volumes of response on social media, suggesting a link between compelling content and social media engagement.” In other words, this stuff works.

AndACTION is also good for filmmakers and writers. When organizations promote films and television shows, more people watch and comment, which creates more buzz for storytellers’ work. Chatter matters: it encourages viewers to stay tuned and share, and it makes issues approachable.

AndACTION is a free, grant-supported project of the public interest communications firm Spitfire Strategies.

What This Is

AndACTION is a platform allowing do-gooders and good storytellers to join forces. More specifically, AndACTION is:

  • A downstream effort. There are many amazing organizations working in writers’ rooms and shaping creative products. AndACTION does something different. We focus on connecting finished creative products with worthy causes that will use the stories to spark important dialogues. We encourage nonprofits to respect the character dilemmas as presented and use storylines “as-is.” Even imperfect stories are opportunities to start conversations.
  • Advance notice. AndACTION gathers intel directly from the entertainment industry, and we also use good old elbow grease to scour the Internet and trade publications. We add what we find to a searchable online database of news about upcoming film and television storylines on a wide variety of issues. Currently, we have opportunities on topics ranging from the environment to immigration to women’s rights to discrimination to education. And we’re adding new issues all the time.
  • A bridge. any studios and networks have corporate social responsibility or community outreach departments. ome are already working directly with select nonprofits. But these departments tend to focus on medium- or long-term initiatives. They do not have the staff or resources to track or connect every storyline with every cause. AndACTION fills this gap by forging strategic connections where they make sense.
  • A source of inspiration and know-how to use stories strategically. Connecting nonprofits to pop culture opportunities is the first step. Some organizations also need help making the most of these opportunities. AndACTION offers tip sheets and pointers for turning storylines into impact. We also share real-life examples — good and bad — that show how groups took advantage of (or missed important opportunities to use) film and TV to advance their causes.
  • A laboratory for experimentation and innovation. We are exploring and encouraging different ways of using pop culture to move issues. We conduct experiments and find the best ways to use pop culture for the greater good.

What This Is Not

  • A guarantee. We do our best to present information about storylines as accurately as possible, giving nonprofits access and opportunities to advance their mission. However, stuff happens. Maybe the spoiler alert didn’t tell the whole story. Maybe there were inaccuracies that didn’t surface until the airdate. Nonprofits should remain flexible to find the best ways to take advantage of the opportunities presented. Groups may applaud a storyline — or use it as a teachable moment. Either way, it gets people talking.
  • A prescription. An organization may tweet about a story once and move on. Another may work with the studio to create a multi-city screening tour. And another may launch a national campaign. There are as many different varieties of engagement models as there are storylines and nonprofits.
  • An attempt to tell storytellers how to do their jobs. AndACTION wants TV and film creators to do what they do best: tell great stories. When those stories relate to causes, we want organizations to take advantage of these stories, get them out to the wider world and urge people to take action. Creators create. Motivators motivate. This project is about letting everyone play to their strengths.

Join us! Explore our website, search for storylines, sign up for email alerts, and check out our resources to learn more. And don’t hesitate to get in touch and say hi. We are a friendly bunch obsessed with film, TV and social change. We are excited to share all we know, learn more together, and work to make the world a better place for fans of great stories and big change.