Los Angeles, California
Welcome to Scientology Media Productions: Religion’s Massive Communications HQ Opens to the World
May 28, 2016
Church’s advanced, multi-platform, totally reinvented and restored motion picture and television studio launched May 28 in Hollywood delivering the message of help—unadulterated and pure—everywhere.
One hundred fifty feet above Sunset Boulevard, at the center of a sprawling Hollywood, California, studio stands a communications tower emblazoned by a symbol: broadcasting waves flanking two triangles and a stylized “S”. The lofty logo boldly introducing itself to the entertainment-communications capital of the planet means only one thing.
“Our uncorrupted communication line to the billions,” said David Miscavige, the religion’s ecclesiastical leader, in a speech to more than 10,000 Scientologists and friends at the inauguration of the Church’s global media center. “Because as the saying goes, if you don’t write your own story, someone else will. So, yes, we’re now going to be writing our story like no other religion in history. And it’s all going to happen right here from Scientology Media Productions.”
Scientology Media Productions (SMP) is poised to broadcast important, good, vital news to the world. News reaching TV screens; facts and opinion destined to radios; magazines hot off of digital presses; information beamed to computers, tablets and cellphones.
Yes, Scientology is in the news—that’s certainly proof that the religion is so interesting. But now Scientology Media Productions IS the media.
On Saturday, May 28 an historic yet utterly high-tech media complex, SMP, opened. It’s a fully integrated digital media production center for TV, Internet and magazines, with a mission to harness the power of all media to bring real answers to the world.
“So, you ask what this day is all about,” said Mr. Miscavige. “It’s a history L. Ron Hubbard himself laid into Scientology—to share what wisdom we possess, to help others to help themselves. And, what goes with the territory: to ignore the catcalls from those who claim that Man cannot be understood, cannot be helped. But, we know different. We know Man can be helped. And even more than that, we know how to do it.”
Mr. Miscavige commented that to spread the religion’s word, Scientology’s own media must be created. “Such has been our quest,” he said. “And why this facility represents the final component of an interlocking system for our global Scientology communications.”
Scientology Media Productions will be the nerve center spreading the Church’s message to the world, and a resource to the ever-growing number of Scientology Churches, humanitarian endeavors and social betterment programs throughout the globe.
Noting that “the average young adult spends 10 hours of every day on the Internet, and someone searches for ‘the meaning of life’ every five seconds, while someone else searches for answers about ‘spirituality’ six times per second,” Mr. Miscavige said that “SMP will harness the power of every social media outlet imaginable to provide those answers.”
“So for the 95 percent of the world’s population that listens to the radio every day,” Mr. Miscavige said, “and the average viewer who spends some 40 hours glued to a TV every week, the obvious answer was: our own radio station, our own TV channel, and our own broadcasting facilities.”
Scientology Media Productions is a five-acre complex near the intersection of Sunset and Hollywood boulevards. Originally built in 1912, the studio includes state-of-the-art sound stages, creative suites, visual effects production areas, editing, audio recording and mixing, foreign language translation and dubbing—every aspect of broadcast and online production.
Plus, the editorial headquarters of Freedom magazine, which produces hard-hitting human interest and investigative stories, are housed at SMP. Freedom itself is being expanded as a global news organization that encompasses print, television, radio and Internet platforms.
It’s the most modern and sophisticated digital media facility of its kind on the planet. Scientology’s worldwide activities including humanitarian and social betterment campaigns, as well as news of current world events, are fed into Central Ingest, the studio’s international media clearinghouse, and accessible throughout the facility’s broadcasting, audio and publication operations. All of that is linked at its core by 27 miles of fiber optic cable connecting a cluster of super computers with a combined capacity of 3.2 million gigabytes of information and media platforms, distributed to proprietary databases for instant translation.
SMP is not merely an evolutionary advance for the religion—it is a major gift for the community. “We also open our doors to humanitarian organizations, charities and religions of every denomination in Los Angeles,” Mr. Miscavige said. “Our facilities will be open for all manner of community events, telethons, religious programming of all faiths, you name it.”
Underlining that at the grand opening were accolades from community leaders of Hollywood and the City of Los Angeles. Leron Gubler, president of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, observed: “What happens here today carries a lot of weight. People are watching Hollywood and people take notice of what the Church does. And you are not only putting an anchor here. But you are providing outstanding opportunities to writers, directors and all manner of creative professionals to thrive in this unique environment. So let’s work together to take Hollywood to even greater heights.”
Los Angeles Conservancy President Linda Dishman said that she was “pleased that you were the heirs to this historic studio. The fact this site will continue to be used for media and audio-visual production is especially noteworthy. Because I know you’ve invested significantly in its preservation. And all the more so, considering the extraordinary fact that your Founder began his screenwriting career in Hollywood from an address on this very lot.”
Arturo Sandoval, a Los Angeles Police captain, recognized that the Church of Scientology is always there to help on anti-drug and anti-crime endeavors. “What’s significant about the Church and its members is that you give and ask for nothing in return,” he said. “With this grand opening today, we all gain an ability to get out important messages containing truth across all manner of different media. And only in that way, can we help guarantee that our kids succeed.”
The final guest speaker was Kevin James, director of the Los Angeles City Film and TV Office. “From a city and public safety perspective, I admire your dedication to be such a great partner at the ground level. I have also grown to admire the professionalism and willingness with which you approach your relationship with us, the City of Los Angeles. You are prepared to be a city partner. And that means a lot. But, with this new studio that we’re celebrating today, I’d say we’re taking our partnership to a whole new level.”
Mr. James also added: “I know the Church of Scientology is not a group to do anything half-heartedly. But, as a professional film devotee, nothing could have prepared me for all of this. And so as a broadcaster, and film chief for the Entertainment Capital of the world, it means something when someone comes along and raises the bar. And I have to tell you, we weren’t surprised that you did. But even so, I definitely told the folks down at City Hall, ‘You have to come and see this.’ Because the Church of Scientology has done it again.”
When the Church acquired the studio from the public broadcasting station KCET, it committed to totally restoring the facility as a treasured piece of Hollywood history. From barrel-tiled roofs, to signature brickwork, to an historic Roman-Tuscan columned theater, to dressing rooms and more—all have been exquisitely renovated. Much of the history of the studio is displayed, echoing memories from movies that were filmed or produced there, including Kidnapped, 55 Days at Peking, El Cid, Love in the Afternoon, and Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
The invitation in 1937 for L. Ron Hubbard to write scripts was dispatched from the facility’s address. LRH worked on films, including the highly successful 15-episode movie serial, The Secret of Treasure Island. An office at SMP, which includes the threshold LRH first crossed to start his cinematic work, contains an exhibition of his prodigious output during the Golden Ages of popular fiction and motion pictures.
The grand opening of Scientology Media Productions comes at the nexus of the Church’s greatest wave of expansion in history, with Ideal Organizations shedding ribbons throughout the world. These Churches not only provide Scientologists with the ability to advance along their spiritual paths, but they are community headquarters that launch education programs to raise awareness of drugs, human rights violations, mental-health abuse, and crime. They also are bases from which Scientology Volunteer Ministers fan out to uplift entire areas with the religion’s technology, and bring succor to those that have faced catastrophes. Fifty Ideal Orgs are now complete, a dozen more are scheduled for opening this year and fifty more are on the runway.
This past decade has further seen the Church embark upon major projects to spread Scientology’s message of help and hope.
It first came with the establishment of Bridge Publications, the world’s largest all-digital, print-on-demand facilities to make LRH materials available anywhere, everywhere and in any language.
Next came the creation of Scientology’s International Dissemination and Distribution Center in Los Angeles, the Church’s cutting edge, 185,000-square-foot, printing and distribution operation.
And all in addition to the Church’s first class film studio at Golden Era Productions, where all LRH Scientology training films are produced.
Finally, came Scientology Media Productions.
“Consider all we have to offer by way of real answers, actual Truth and unconditional Help. At which point, the question becomes: How do we bring those answers to everyone, in every language of Earth?” Mr. Miscavige said. “That answer of course lay in what LRH reiterated as the vital necessity of coming to terms with correct orders of magnitude.”
“To at least conceive of those orders of magnitude, as in, seven-billion human beings. Well, in light of what you witnessed thus far, and what you are about to witness, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask: Can you conceive of it now?”
At which point Mr. Miscavige cut the massive ribbon and opened Scientology Media Productions to the world.