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The 5 Secrets Of Storytelling For Social Change


The 5 Secrets Of Storytelling For Social Change

Entrepreneurs

8/01/2013 @ 2:05PM |182 views

Editor’s Note: Jim Berk is Chief Executive Officer of Participant Media, a Los Angeles-based entertainment company that focuses on socially relevant, commercially viable feature films, documentaries and television, as well as publishing and digital media.

What we do is not new.  There have always been socially relevant films that inspired us and spoke to the challenges of the time, movies that helped us understand important issues and thrust them into the zeitgeist—Hotel Rwanda, Norma Rae, Erin Brockovich, Gandhi.  Films like this were and still are part of a studio’s slate, but what makes Participant unique is that socially relevant content is our entire focus.

Participant’s Founder Jeff Skoll believed that people, if inspired, and given the tools, would work to make the world a better place. Our strategy: to tell stories that illuminate the issues shaping our world and then invite the audience to become engaged.

Nine and a half years later, after 43 films, thousands of social action events, and, so far this year, over 15 million social actions completed through our digital platform, TakePart.com, we have empirical evidence that you can both entertain and accelerate positive social change.  These learnings have happened over time. We have spent—and continue to spend—an inordinate amount of time working to understand what makes people get involved, what makes them interested in issues and how we can present the story in a way that is so meaningful that they raise their hand and say, ‘I want to do something. I have something to say.“

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