Spotlight on Allison Janney: Watch It. Share It. Write About It

Watch It.      Share It.      Write About It. brings you a special interview with actress Allison Janney.

picFurther enriching season’s discussion of substance use recovery and mental health is six-time Emmy winning actress Allison Janney. Janney was most recently commended for her skillful portrayal as recovering drug and alcohol addict Bonnie Plunkett in the CBS sitcom Mom, for which she earned her 2014 Emmy for an Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. In this webcast, she joins EIC to talk about how the entertainment world helps people who struggle with substance abuse.

Allison Janney says about her role in Mom: “I want to give an honest a portrayal as possible, and that is my job, and my duty as an actress, and my pleasure. That’s what I love to do.”

Check out to see more and see the whole video here.


Posted by Siyuan Hu on Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 at 4:34 pm under PRISM Awards. Follow responses through the RSS 2.0 feed.

Spotlight on Anthony Anderson: Watch It. Share It. Write About It.

Watch It.    Share It.    Write about It. brings you a special interview with actor and producer Anthony Anderson

Kick startAnthony Anderson - PRISM Awards 2014(1)ing the new season of original programming with a powerful conversation on substance use recovery and mental health is Black-ish actor Anthony Anderson. While Anderson is best known for his roles in Transformers, The Departed, and Big Momma’s House, he is also a passionate advocate for knowledge, understanding and building positive communities. In this case, Anthony is proudly wearing a green ribbon pin in support of mental health awareness during his appearance at the 18th Annual PRISM Awards, discussing how art imitates life and the power of support systems.

Support systems can come in many forms: family, friends, or people who have shared similar experiences. Anderson emphasizes that a support system, “is what keeps you, not only grounded, but also keeps you moving forward in a positive way.” Support systems are people that you can turn to and say I can’t do this by myself. As many of us know, these are the people who keep us on track to reach goals and celebrate accomplishments.

Anderson emphasizes the opportunity presented to those in the entertainment industry: “In our field of work it is important for us to have an accurate portrayal of whatever this character may be going through, something that’s realistic, so that it creates dialogue.” The stigma surrounding mental health and substance abuse has prevented people from engaging in conversation for far too long. People often do not seek out treatment for addiction out of embarrassment. Accurate portrayal of substance abuse recovery wAnthony Anderson - PRISM Awards 2014ill spark conversation and encourage people to ask questions, seek assistance, and create a compassionate, accepting environment.

Check out Anthony’s full interview on


Photos Credit: Aaron Jackson,

Posted by Skylar on Friday, February 13th, 2015 at 10:15 pm under PRISM Awards. Follow responses through the RSS 2.0 feed.

Watch It. Share It. Write About It.

Watch It.      Share It.      Write About It. brings you exclusive access to interviews with “Parenthood” stars Craig T. Nelson, Peter Krause, Sam Jaeger and Max Burkholder

Emotions ran high during thcast-of-Parenthood-on-TV-NBC (1)e series finale of Parenthood, which aired nationwide Thursday, January 29th. Starring PRISM Award winners Craig T. Nelson, Peter Krause, Monica Potter and Max Burkholder (in his PRISM Award¬-winning role as Max Braverman, a child growing up with Asperger’s syndrome), the NBC series brought into viewers’ homes and lives honest conversation about depression, substance use, mental health, aging, cancer and more. Parenthood has taken a dynamic approach to mental wellness: a family support approach. The show has not only spread awareness of mental illness to millions of fans, but it has enlightened its viewers to the fact that people can recover and live happy, productive lives. Because of its accuracy and genuine style of depicting mental illness and substance use recovery, Parenthood has won five PRISM Awards from Entertainment Industries Council.

Parenthood showrunner Jason Katims has stated that he has woven his autobiography, as a father of a son with Asperger’s syndrome, into the series. His achievement has been to shift his audiences’ focus from the difficulties Max Braverman may face, to his many gifts and talents, at times, even calling Asperger’s his “super power.” This is the first step in fighting stigma and discrimination that too often accompanies these types of diagnoses. Parenthood has aided people in viewing mental health more positively and because of its authenticity, allows them to relate to each character’s experiences, encouraging those in need to seek help.

EIC recognizes the effort put forth by writers Sarah Watson, David Hudgins, Julia Brownell, Jessica Goldberg, Gina Fattore, Ian Deitchman, Kristin Rusk Robinson, Sarah Watson, Jason Katims, Jesse Zwick to tell these authentic stories and encourages you, as a fellow journalist and writer, to consider the impact of accurate, lived experiences in the content you create for your audiences. If you are working on a story that involves openly discussing health and social issues, including mental health and substance use recovery, the EIC Team is available to provide your resources in the form of best practices, style guides and subject matter experts 24/7 and on deadline to support your efforts to address these important issues in an appropriate and compassionate way.


Posted by Skylar on Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015 at 8:36 pm under PRISM Awards. Follow responses through the RSS 2.0 feed.

Mental Health Champions Changing the Coversation

MMHM Patrick Kennedy PicAs you may already be aware, May was Mental Health Awareness Month and to keep the celebration of changing the conversation going, EIC is honoring a few superstars who are working hard to increase awareness and understanding surrounding mental health. The efforts of these, and others, whom we will profile over the coming weeks, will change the conversation and promote acceptance for individuals living with Mental Health Challenges. Each of these individuals has been affected differently by these issues and is taking a stand to rally everyone when it comes to awareness. Read on to learn their stories and join the conversation by tweeting @TEAMUP using #MentalHealth.

What this superstar is doing:

Patrick Kennedy is co-founder of One Mind for Research. This independent, non-profit organization, is working towards a national scientific campaign to understand brain disorders and to reduce suffering and burden on the U.S. economy before the decade is out by reducing stigma, promoting new research, and establishing standards of fair treatment for those living with these conditions.

As stated on their website, “By changing the way scientists, health care professionals, NGO and government partners think about and conduct scientific and translational research, One Mind – which has been called a “moonshot to the mind” – has presented the challenge to Americans to come together to create a unified effort to advance mental health-related public policy within ten years’ time.”

How you can engage:

Accurate and entertaining storytelling about mental health is a key component of changing attitudes and behaviors. I strongly believe that mental and physical health is interconnected. When you put these issues into content and programming, we are able to reach people with this valuable information in a comfortable, but personal way. I encourage you to support mental health awareness by teaming up with us @TEAMUP on twitter.

Posted by Skylar on Tuesday, June 4th, 2013 at 7:32 pm under PRISM Awards. Follow responses through the RSS 2.0 feed.

Inspiring Future Innovators Through Entertainment and News Media

This month is high tech month and EIC is proud to join in the celebration by Spotlighting a young lady who recently won the National Center for Women in Technology (NCWIT) Award for Aspirations in Computing. Allison Collier fell in love with computer science during her first C++ class and has followed her passion ever since. Now, a senior at Massaponax High School in Fredericksburg, VA, she has also been engaged in EIC activities to inspire the next generation of creative problem solvers and innovators. We sat down with Allison to talk about her award, her love of technology, and why she thinks the media can play a key role in inspiring more young people to get involved!

Brian: Tell us a little bit about how it felt to win this prestigious award?

Allison: “When I read the email I literally fell out of my chair. It was such a surprise for me! I honestly did not think that I would even be considered because there are so many other girls out there working on extraordinary projects. For me to have been picked out of 1800 applicants makes me feel extremely honored and humbled.”

Brian: What first inspired your interest in technology?

Allison: “When I was a little kid, I was really into playing games on my computer like Freddi the Fish, Math Blaster, and Nancy Drew and I was always interested in figuring out how in the world the computer could actually display the games. Was it magic? Were there little people inside of the computer running all of the programs? I wanted to know exactly how computers functioned.”

Brian: What do you think holds students back from taking an interest in science, engineering, technology and math, like you did?

Allison: “I think each field has a different problem. Many students automatically have a stigma against mathematics and science because it can be extremely challenging at times. When it comes to engineering, many students automatically jump to thinking about trains because they don’t know anything about it. As for technology, I think students are more interested in using it than creating it because they don’t understand the level of creativity and amount of imagination it takes to build a program or to craft a piece of hardware. They just assume they’ll spend their days endlessly typing on a keyboard and staring at a computer screen.”

Brian: What would you say to someone that thinks that science, technology, and/or math is too hard or uninteresting?

Allison: “To those who think that science, technology, and math are uninteresting, try all of it first, and then decide. It’s never a good thing to discredit the whole field of technology just because one aspect of it may be boring to you. For those who think that science, technology, and math are too hard, don’t go down without a fight! There are going to be times in science, technology, and math when you can’t figure out an equation or maybe a program just won’t compile and you can’t seem to figure out what’s wrong with it, but don’t give up. Stay after school with teachers to get extra help if you don’t understand something or ask a friend or a parent for assistance. There are plenty of people out there that would be happy to help you succeed.”

Brian: Are there still stereotypes surrounding kids who are into science, engineering and technology? What do they mean to you?

Allison: “Yes! There are tons of stereotypes! Most of them revolve around the assumption that students who are into [science, technology, engineering and math] have no lives, spend all of their time on the internet, and have horrible physical appearances and that simply isn’t the case. In my AP Java class, we have a variety of people spanning different colors, sizes, backgrounds, genders, and interests. We have basketball, soccer, softball, and tennis players, violinists, singers, National Honors Society, Spanish Club, DECA and FBLA club members etc. Even the stereotype that there are no women taking STEM courses is becoming irrelevant considering that last year there were no women taking AP Java at my school and this year there are four of us.”

Brian: How do you think the media can get more involved in promoting science, engineering, technology and math to younger generations? What types of role models can help to get kids involved?

Allison: “I think the media should make actors and actresses that portray people working in [these fields] more relatable. As kids and teenagers grow up, we look for people and stories that we can identify with-something that can show us what we have the potential to become. Most of us are concerned with fitting in and, in the media, typically people interested in [science, technology, engineering and math] don’t tend to do that very well. I think role models that are shown to be competent in their field of interest and are shown hanging out with their friends and going on neat adventures are going to help kids get involved more. They don’t have to be popular, but I don’t think that the other extreme is a good route either.”

Now, with Allison’s comments in mind, we must ask ourselves: How do we reach future generations? What steps must we, as entertainment and news media, take to inform and inspire a 9-year-old outside of the classroom? How can we bring the schoolhouse lessons of 4th grade real-world context through accurate depictions and storytelling? How can we create multi-generational influence, extending from grandparent, to parent and on, and learning to encourage the pursuit of these important fields? I look forward to hearing your thoughts and answers. Leave them as comments on this blog and get the discussion started so we, as influencers of attitude and behavior, can work together to change the future of innovation.

Posted by Skylar on Tuesday, January 15th, 2013 at 10:00 am under PRISM Awards. Follow responses through the RSS 2.0 feed.

Happy Holidays! Highlights from 2012

By: Brian Dyak

What a great year of progress, growth and impact! In 2012, EIC has utilized the power and influence of our industry to inform audiences about important health and social issues and communicate, in many instances life changing information. We are especially grateful to over 200, (yes over 200) advisors, consultants, experts, executives, writers, producers, directors, actors, and volunteers who rolled up their sleeves to work with us to reinforce the spirit of the ART of making a difference. All of you are the magic of our success to creatively engage our industry to serve others. We greatly appreciate the over 4500 people who directly attended our forums and special awards programs and other activities we participated in, taking time to learn more about the ways the entertainment industry proactively influences our popular culture for the good of society and the future. I’m pleased to share with you some highlights from the year!


Our efforts to promote Science, Engineering and Technology to audiences through our Ready on the S.E.T. and… ACTION! initiative, including a special forum with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and key entertainment organizations, put in motion a special emphasis on girls and women in these fields. We also experienced phenomenal growth in allied relationships with other industries and support from The Boeing Company, Lockheed Martin, aero-engine maker Rolls Royce, Northup Grumman, National Science Foundation, NASA, and media partner US News & World Report that value the entertainment industry as a key resource to spread the word and positively influence attitudes and behaviors. The 2nd Annual S.E.T. Awards was a smashing success with the likes of Bill Nye the Science Guy, Shia LaBeouf, Dolph Lundgren (our chemical engineer in residence), Bob Gurr (legendary Disney theme park ride designer), directors Alex Singer and Michael Bay, performer Sarah Brightman and a host of others as recipients and presenters. The crowd doubled and we were excited to share the event with over 50 students aspiring to be our next generation of scientists, engineers and technologists who taught us a few things through their really dynamic exhibits.


EIC’s PRISM Awards celebrated 16 years of the ART of making a difference by honoring accurate portrayals of mental health and substance abuse in television, movies, and comic book entertainment. The PRISM TV Showcase has enjoyed broader distribution than any other year due to our partnership with FX, cable carriers, cable networks, broadcasters, and a strong “on demand” presence. Again we were able to hit key demographics from MTV to Retirement Living. In fact, the show will continue to be available to the public through spring 2013…so if you haven’t seen it yet, you still have a chance to catch Dr. Drew as our host presenting powerful entertainment from the networks, and studios.


We have also been fortunate to partner with media and mental health organizations to promote Mental Health Stigma and Discrimination Reduction through our TEAM Up project with support from the California Mental Health Services Administration (CalMHSA) funded by Proposition 63. We continue to be excited about our launch of a powerful Picture This Forum with Univision directly targeting Spanish language audiences, through entertainment programming and journalism. EIC also partnered with the Staunton Farm Foundation to further establish an adaptation of the PRISM model to increase awareness about mental health services in Southwestern Pennsylvania and this year host our 2nd Annual Media and Mental Health Awards, that included a special evening with U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin, honoring excellence in broadcasting and print journalism. We even produced a groundbreaking local production of the PRISM Awards with special local experts and local airing on suicide prevention, bullying and returning veterans. We rounded out our 2012 work in Pittsburg with a unique forum on the needs of returning veterans, their community reintegration, health needs and support for their employment with the U.S. Dept. of Labor VETs program also geared to how the local media can accurately report on returning veteran concerns and build community support.


On the veteran front we are very proud of our work with Veteran Affairs to produce a Picture This forum that presented real stories and depiction briefing for writers. The writer’s resource publication created has been widely distributed to the creative community and has received wonderful accolades. Our First Draft services gained momentum on numerous topics and our work in Diabetes racked up literally tens of millions of exposures nationally on television and through special placement in Times Square, CenturyLink field (home of the Seattle Seahawks), and Walmart.


There is even more on the website. I just wanted to share with you some highlights that made 2012 an exemplary year for the entertainment industry making a difference in the lives of our audiences and the public. Again have a wonderful holiday, enjoy family and friends and Happy New Year.

Posted by Skylar on Tuesday, December 18th, 2012 at 10:00 am under PRISM Awards. Follow responses through the RSS 2.0 feed.

HIV and AIDS: A Timely and Necessary Discussion

By: Brian Dyak

The HIV and AIDS conversation is often a difficult one to have, but necessary. Now is a good time to remind people that June 27this National HIV Testing Day.

The prevalence of HIV and AIDS in the disabled community is, basically, left out of the mainstream discussion of the disease.  Obviously, when the scope of analysis of such a critical disease has blind spots, there is a problem.  In this particular incident, the problem can truly be solved with the direct help of the entertainment media industry and its partners.

There are two basic causes for the disabled community being left out of the HIV and AIDS discussion.  First, there is a lack of specific data relating to the prevalence in this population.  Second, generally, it is assumed that the disabled community is sexually inactive.  Ultimately, this is a cyclical issue in many ways.  There is a lack of specific research because there is no awareness of the problem, and there is no awareness because scientific research has yet to shed light on the issues.  Furthermore, traditional proliferation of information regarding HIV and AIDS is often ineffective at reaching this audience.  For example, the blind cannot read brochures, the deaf cannot hear radio PSAs, and mentally disabled people may misunderstand vague metaphors often used in discussing sexually transmitted infections.  Similarly, it is a simple lack of awareness resulting in the assumption that disabled people are sexually inactive.  (Sidenote: Some studies even suggest this is true for transmission via intravenous drug use, too.  The disabled community is just as likely to have drug abusers.)

These two causes manifest into one major effect:  Inadequate education of HIV and AIDS.  Obviously, the lack of research and attention in this field means that the scope of HIV and AIDS has blind spots, which carry through into the education of the disease.  Additionally, this problematizes the education of the disabled community.  When the overall assumption is that disabled persons are sexually inactive, they remain uneducated about simple safe sex practices.  It’s that simple.

And this is where we come in.  The entertainment media industry can break the cycle by raising awareness of the issue.  This will have amazing repercussions in scientific fields of study, help educate both disabled and nondisabled people, and even combat sexual stigmas of this large population.  By attacking this issue on multiple media fronts, we can spread this message.  Besides, is this a character you’ve seen on television yet?

Creative storytelling can engage the heart, soul, and mind. I encourage an eye to reaching all people through some level of communication…radio and TV would be a great start.

Posted by Skylar on Friday, June 1st, 2012 at 9:00 am under PRISM Awards. Follow responses through the RSS 2.0 feed.

PRISM Presents a Special Tribute to Veterans

By: Brian Dyak

The 16th Annual PRISM Awards will present a special tribute to salute our veterans. For the past 16 years, the PRISM Awards have recognized depictions of substance use and metal health concerns that are not only entertaining, but also accurate and able to reach and inform vast audiences. In recent years, the PRISM Awards have seen a steady increase in the number of story

lines involving active and returning service members, often facing significant difficulties ranging from physical rehabilitation to reintegration in the workplace and treatment for concerns like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Some of those production writers and actors have gone above and beyond to craft informative characters with which our veterans can identify and, in some cases, even be encouraged to take control of their situations.

A significant number of 2012 PRISM nominees related to health topics and the military, so it seems like the perfect opportunity for the PRISM Awards to pay tribute to our veterans. We are excited to not only thank them for protecting our creative freedom, but also let them know we stand by them as they move forward in their personal and professional lives as civilians.

To honor their bravery and further encourage the creative community to focus on accurate portrayals that reinforce the need to support our veterans, throughout the Beverly Hills Hotel, on April 19th, 2012, we will display signs and banners representing each of the branches of the armed forces to honor the service and memory of these outstanding men and women. We will make this a concerted theme throughout the evening, starting with a Military Honor Guard posting the flag followed by video of the Golden Knights team skydiving with a PRISM Awards banner that will be presented on stage by our first celebrity guest who will then introduce the theme for the evening.

A number of celebrities in the room who have served will present awards during the evening, and their service will be part of their introduction as they take the stage. Confirmed attendees include Jon Huertas of “Castle”who served in the Special Forces for 3 years, becoming a veteran of three conflicts including the first Gulf War. He’s a member on the board of the non-profit Puppies Behind Bars, a program in which prison inmates train service dogs to help returning veterans suffering from PTSD and other ailments.

Some of the veteran celebrities, before presenting awards, will talk about our returning veterans and the importance of reintegrating them back into civilian life – helping them to face the challenges of finding homes, learning new professions, finding jobs, healing from both the physical and psychological wounds of their service and assuring them that we stand with them for the long haul of returning to their dreams and aspirations.

In our interview rooms for the PRISM Awards Showcase TV special, celebrities who have served will each be asked a question regarding the military and these sound bites will be used to craft a tribute to our veterans for the TV show. The show will air in September on FX Network, and a myriad of other national cable outlets plus be provided to local stations for airing after the cable premiere. The PRISM Awards Showcase TV special will also be available on demand by some of the airing partners for an extended period of time.

This year’s PRISM Awards provides us with a unique opportunity celebrate our veterans, and EIC encourages the creative community to keep honoring our veterans with accurate, appropriate, entertaining and beneficial portrayals in 2012 and beyond!

Posted by Skylar on Thursday, April 19th, 2012 at 12:00 pm under PRISM Awards. Follow responses through the RSS 2.0 feed.

Let the Countdown to PRISM Begin!

By: Brian Dyak

As we approach The PRSIM Awards 16TH anniversary, we are reminded of the importance of encouraging the accurate depiction of health issues through one of the strongest communicators: media. Actors, films, and TV shows are honored for accurately depicting addiction: prevention, treatment and recovery from drug, alcohol and tobacco use, and mental health concerns.

Accurate portrayals of substance use and mental health through entertainment and creativity deliver the truth about these critical health issues to a wide audience in an entertaining and compelling way that can, often, encourage viewers to take control of their own situations.  In essence, they are entertaining a difference in our communities. We at the Entertainment Industries Council, refer to this as “Celebrating the ART of Making a Difference!” which is what PRISM is all about.

We are proud to congratulate this year’s performance award winners including Craig T. Nelson (Parenthood), Caterina Scorsone (Private Practice), Jon Huertas and Stana Katic (Castle), Emily Osment (Cyberbully), William H. Macy (Shameless) and Jennifer Morrison (Bringing Ashley Home).   Whether it is Stana Katic’s portrayal of Post Traumatic Disorder in Castle or the true-to-life addiction circumstances of Amelia Shepherd played by Caterina Scorsone in Private Practice, the chilling portrayals of alcoholism by William H. Macy in Shameless or the all-to-real effects of teen violence portrayed by Emily Osment in Cyberbully, these actors have displayed unparalleled courage and authenticity, earning them the highest performance honors. Performance awards will be given on April 19,2012 at The Beverly Hills Hotel where winners for outstanding productions will be announced.

Stay tuned to find out which of your favorite stars are winning a PRISM Award this year!

Posted by Skylar on Wednesday, April 18th, 2012 at 7:11 pm under PRISM Awards. Follow responses through the RSS 2.0 feed.

Fashion: The Art of Science & Engineering

By: Brian Dyak

Picture This: You as Iron Man’s Tony Stark – complete with Arc Reactor glowing as you walk down the street with your best buddy sporting an interactive t-shirt that locates a WiFi signal for you. It’s not science fiction anymore.

Although we do not normally associate fashion with science, engineering, and technology (SET), the two seemingly separate entities have always been linked. From the basic development of garments to the creative, often high-tech finesse designers add to clothing and accessories, science, engineering and technology contribute heavily to the clothes we wear. For example, scientific research forced fiber-forming materials into synthetic threads, creating many new options for designers and manufacturers: SpandexTM, nylon, polyester, Gore-Tex ®. Technology can also be credited with streamlining mass production of the collectible fan merchandise that drives viewers to sites dedicated to their favorite productions and characters.

We now live in a world where we can decide if garments properly fit using computer modeling and virtual dressing rooms. Designers strive to produce aesthetically pleasing and original garments “engineering” their visions. As an extreme example, European fashion designer Hussein Chalayan merges fashion and technology using materials most of us would not consider “wearable”. He has designed apparel that also functions as furniture, a series of laser LED dresses, and a dress made from aircraft construction materials capable of changing shape via remote control. Not surprisingly, Chalayan has worked with Lady Gaga, notably her egg costume for the 2011 Grammy Awards and famed bubble dress. Extensive technological and engineering skills proved essential in successfully “launching” such extreme fashion.

Other designers are using “green science.” “Green” clothing includes fabric that’s biodegradable, organic, sustainable (cotton, hemp, Tencel®), or recycled into new apparel or jewelry. Stella McCartney, for example, uses vegan-friendly materials. Patagonia recycles plastic bottles into its polar fleece jackets and pullovers.

Credit: AP

As the line between fashion and science, engineering and technology begins to blur, we can transform stereotypes of scientists as prime fodder for the fashion police to collaborators in expanding the scope and originality of haute couture on and off the preverbal set to encourage more students to learn about SET careers. More importantly, as “extreme” entertainers such as Lady Gaga push the limits of what constitutes clothing (and, arguably, artistic expression), the entertainment industry can highlight and explain to audiences the how and why behind these bold endeavors. After all, wouldn’t we all love to learn how Lady Gaga’s infamous meat dress was designed and, well, “preserved”, so as not to –literally- create a stink? Let your imagination and fashion desires be your guide!

Log on for more information on the Ready on the S.E.T. and…Action! Initiative surrounding Science, Engineering and Technology!

Posted by Skylar on Thursday, March 29th, 2012 at 9:17 pm under S.E.T.. Follow responses through the RSS 2.0 feed.