It’s one of the thorniest of social issues, and one of the hardest for Hollywood to tackle in a meaningful way.
To help scribes and producers understand the complexity of the nation’s foster care system, the Entertainment Industries Council will present a two-hour briefing Thursday morning at EIC offices on the NBC lot in Burbank. The “Foster Care for Storytellers” sesh is part of the EIC’s ongoing series of seminars designed to help the industry accurately depict health and social issues in film and TV.
EIC’s past seminars have addressed substance abuse, mental illness and drug addiction, “but foster care is a thread that seems to go through all those topics,” says Marie Dyak, EIC’s exec veep of program services and government relations. Thursday’s panel will include a range of people affected by the crisis in foster care: birth parents, former foster children and social service professionals.
Janet Tamaro-Natt, an exec producer of “Rizzoli and Isles,” credits EIC seminars with strengthening her work on the TNT detective drama.
“Most working writers I know want to get it right but often don’t have the time to track down the experts,” says Tamaro-Natt. “I think any episode I write is always stronger when it’s grounded in research.”
Tamaro-Natt also turned to EIC execs when she was struggling with whether to depict a teenager smoking meth. After the council put her in touch with an experienced teen counselor, Tamaro-Natt went forward with confidence that the scene offered a realistic look at teen drug abuse.
“I give EIC a lot of credit for the way this cautionary tale subtly played out,” she says.