J.J. Abrams spoke at Mashable’s Social Good Summit via Skype on Monday, revealing that there is more to his movies and television shows than just keeping you on the edge of your seat. While this is something that we’ve always known, we didn’t really know about the social good that came along.
“If we have a story we want to tell and can also make a change — that’s great,” Abrams said. “Five U.N. specialists spent time with our writers, and they really helped deepen our story lines and make the challenges even bigger: How do you prevent disease? What is life really like in a refugee camp? The whole notion of warlords is gonna be an issue in the series this year.”
Abrams’ team also met with people that are currently, or have, lived without electricity. “People with real-life experiences helped enormously to give the series a grounding in reality.”
Abrams also created a spin-off of his production company Bad Robot, to help with the social good effort. It’s called Good Robot.
“We really wanted to deepen our connection with the world around us, and to take these entertainment opportunities and make them into something that was even deeper and more meaningful. And even in a few months it’s brought a deeper level of meaning to our work. We want to be a company that’s going to be part of the solution. We hope that through watching Revolution that people will become more aware of people living in these conditions.”
Good Robot has inspired changes great and small, from a composting program at the building to topical guest speakers to large scale projects like the Mission Continues with Star Trek: Into Darkness.
Since the movie was set to be released in May, when thousands of troops were scheduled to come, Abrams decided to use the opportunity as a way to honor veterans and highlight the problems they face.
“Could we take a summer action movie — about a crew of Starfleet officers who rise against the threat of terrorism — and shine a spotlight on a real life issue affecting all of us at home?” Abrams wrote in a blog for The Huffington Post.
The crew partnered with the organization the Mission Continues, a nonprofit that gives returning troops a sense of purpose by dispensing them to work on service projects in need of their specific skill sets. A number of members from the organization appeared in one of the film’s scenes and also shared their experiences with the cast and crew.