What I have learned working with Hollywood is that writers strive for authenticity, not accuracy.
The thing organ donation advocates need to know is that we don’t need accuracy to save lives.
It’s true that research shows fear and myth based storylines stop people from signing up to be donors. But Donate Life Hollywood (DLH) has also found that positive stories, even if they are inaccurate, can leave people inspired to donate.
When working with Hollywood, including conversations with the creator of the new CBS comedy “B Positive”, I try to help the entertainment industry understand our cause and concerns. I let them know that when it comes to organ donation, words and tone can either cost or save lives.
I also help them understand that organ donation feels under assault by Hollywood.
We have been battered and bruised by movies and television shows that fuel a deep, persistent and unwarranted fear of organ donation. Our cause is about hope, transformation and love but Hollywood keeps filing us under “horror.” When people cite concerns about organ donation they often reference the myths that come from Hollywood. We are suffering from a sort of PTSD, so when a new show comes around we can be suspicious and critical.
DLH is working to eliminate myths and fears in television and film in order to save more lives. But it is also part of my work to help the donation and transplant community understand Hollywood, an industry focused on storytelling.
“B Positive” is the story of two people who couldn’t be more different and yet find they are a perfect kidney match.
It is about a young woman who wants her life to have greater meaning and purpose and spontaneously decides to donate a kidney to a guy she knew in high school. In that act of generosity she became part of our world. And it is about a guy who just found out he is in renal failure and was told to find a living donor and instantly became one of us.
This is the real-life story of “B Positive” creator Marco Pennette who says the show, “is not just a buddy comedy – it’s a survival comedy.”
Marco is part of our community, and he is part of the entertainment industry. His job is to tell a funny story. DLH’s job is to offer “B Positive” free expert consultation, identify potential PR opportunities, hold writers to account for anything that could really cost lives and work with you so that together we can advance a broader conversation about living donation, and save lives.
DLH’s partnership with CBS and “Three Rivers” led to a 6% increase in the public’s willingness to register as a donor, the largest increase in a single year. This is a network that has helped us save lives before and DLH is laying the groundwork to do it again.
So, please watch the “B Positive” premiere this Thursday Nov. 5, 2020 (8:30-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
Then stay connected to Donate Life Hollywood by downloading the DLH Activate App and following us on Twitter @DL_Hollywood and Facebook @DLHCampaign.
Tenaya Wallace is the CEO of Crowd Advocacy and founder of Donate Life Hollywood, a project of the OneLegacy Foundation. DLH Partners provide funding and support from patient groups, OPO’s, Transplant Centers and others invested in eliminating the transplant waiting list.
Web ID 7098