The Church of Scientology, a church that has been widely covered by the media, both in online and broadcast platforms, unveiled the Scientology Media Productions (SMP) facility on May 28, 2016.
More than 10,000 Scientologists witnessed the historic inauguration of the building by the church’s ecclesiastical leader, David Miscavige, and a palpable wave of auspicious excitement was in the air. Miscavige called SMP a “global media center” and an “uncorrupted communication line to the billions.” With the opening of SMP, the church now has a multi-platform avenue to “deliver the message of help – unadulterated and pure.”
The facility was previously the KCET studios, established in 1912 and acquired by the church in April 2011. Located near the intersection of Sunset and Hollywood boulevards, the studio was completely restored and reinvented by the Church of Scientology, enabling it to further develop and widen the reach of its broadcast production activities.
Leading up to the opening, the Church of Scientology teased the event by using their social media platforms to post photos of the facility as guests were arriving. A portion of the event was streamed live on Periscope, and a 360 degree video was uploaded to YouTube showing the ribbon cutting.
The communications tower that stands 150 feet above Sunset Boulevard is marked by a symbol that represents the heart of SMP: broadcasting waves flanking two triangles and a stylized “S.” Miscavige declares the opening as the beginning of an era in Scientology history to write their “own story,” a means for Scientologists to bring their message to the world. “As the saying goes, if you don’t write your own story, someone else will. 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.”
Miscavige emphasized the far-reaching importance of the creation of Scientology’s own media and outlined the church’s quest to spread its message “to help others to help themselves” and share the wisdom that they possess. The inauguration of the facility five years after its acquisition marks “the final component of an interlocking system for our global Scientology communications.”
The media production center will be open to people of other faiths and secular groups in the metropolis. “We also open our doors to humanitarian organizations, charities and religions of every denomination in Los Angeles,” Miscavige said. “Our facilities will be open for all manner of community events, telethons, religious programming of all faiths, you name it.”
The SMP is a fully integrated digital media production center that has broadcasting capabilities for television, the Internet and print. It has high-tech sound stages, equipment for producing visual effects and video editing, audio recording studios that allows for foreign language translation and dubbing. It covers every aspect of broadcast and online production. The editorial headquarters of Freedom magazine, a church publication geared towards investigative journalism, are also housed within SMP.
Dignitaries and city leaders were also present in the inauguration. Among those who were present are Leron Gubler, president of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce; Linda Dishman, Los Angeles Conservancy President; Arturo Sandoval, Los Angeles Police Captain and Kevin James, director of the Los Angeles City Film and TV Office.
Gubler commented: “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.”
Dishman expressed the she was “pleased” that the church is the “heir to this historic studio.” Sandoval recognized the church’s anti-drug and anti-crime efforts, citing their altruistic and selfless attitude in service. He also said that the grand opening brings with it “an ability to get out important messages containing truth across all manner of different media.” James praised the church’s dedication in being a partner of the city in matters of city and public safety.
The facility is beloved to the church because if its direct historic significance to its founder, L. Ron Hubbard. The invitation for Hubbard to write screenplays originated from it in 1937. He worked on film projects, including The Secret of Treasure Island, a 15-episode movie series.
Church projects in the past decade that have been completed as part of Scientology’s mission to spread its message include Bridge publications, a digital, print-on-demand facility focused on Hubbard’s works; the International Dissemination and Distribution center, a massive print and distribution operation and Golden Era Productions, the site for making Hubbard’s Scientology training films.
With SMP open to people of all faiths, not only will the Church of Scientology have its own means of telling its story, but the interfaith community will have a common avenue to disseminate their messages as well.