LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--As the new fall television season launches, Donate Life Hollywood is urging producers and writers to place accuracy over “myth-based drama” in their storylines about the power of organ donation. To help achieve this, Donate Life Hollywood is once again offering the industry a free array of services including access to transplant surgeons, casting support, direct contact with donor families and recipients, and pre-production consulting.
“There is an increasing desire to tell our stories because they tap into human emotion and drama, but accuracy is critical because the power of television influences viewer behavior, both positive and negative,” says Tenaya Wallace, founder and director of Donate Life Hollywood. A project of the OneLegacy Foundation, Donate Life Hollywood serves as a liaison between the organ donation community and the entertainment industry with the goal of seeing more authentic and empowering stories about donation and transplantation.
In stressing the importance of accuracy, Wallace points to a comprehensive study of organ donation depiction on television, conducted by Dr. Susan Morgan, which found that the public’s fears and opinions about donation mirror exactly what’s shown on television.
The research shows that organ donation is different than other issues because the majority of the public doesn’t have personal experience with transplantation to counter what they see on TV. Dr. Morgan also found that when shows have an emotional storyline featuring, for example, a black market for organs, much of the public accepts the information as true. Believing these myths decreases a viewer’s willingness to sign up as an organ donor.
Two feature films, “Saw IX” and “The God Committee,” are on the horizon with organ donation storylines that could perpetuate fear. Last season “The Resident” on FOX featured a living kidney donation story where the introduction of a fictional “organ broker” perpetuated the black-market myth.
Conversely, Wallace says that Hollywood can actually help save lives by developing storylines that educate viewers about the organ donation process or show characters making the decision to register as donors. When writers and networks have partnered with Donate Life Hollywood, “there has been a measurable increase in donor registrations across the country, and that helps saves lives,” says Wallace.
Donate Life Hollywood stands ready to help writers and producers tell authentic stories as well as work with networks and studios to promote positive portrayals and encourage viewers to register. The free services offered to the entertainment industry by Donate Life Hollywood include:
- Expert consultations with transplant surgeons and donation professionals.
- Casting support by engaging donor families, living donors and transplant recipients.
- Pre-production and production assistance for non-scripted television and documentaries.
- Harnessing the national organ donation and transplant community to support productions.
“People want to do good in this world; and that goes for Hollywood, too,” says Wallace. “The challenge is that many writers don’t fully realize that while their fear-based stories about a black market or stolen organs may be fiction, they actually stop people from becoming donors. Alternatively, when writers, producers and networks work with us, their stories inspire action that might help one of the 113,000 people waiting for a second chance at life.”
“The OneLegacy Foundation is investing in Donate Life Hollywood to help the entertainment industry tell authentic and positive stories and inspire people to say yes to donation,” said Tom Mone, CEO of the OneLegacy Foundation. “We ask that Hollywood understand the impact of their storytelling and join us in helping to save lives.”
OneLegacy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to saving lives through organ, eye and tissue donation in seven counties in Southern California: Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Santa Barbara and Kern. Serving more than 200 hospitals, 11 transplant centers and a diverse population of nearly 20 million, OneLegacy is the largest organ, eye and tissue recovery organization in the world. For more information, call OneLegacy at 800-786-4077, or visit onelegacy.org.