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Saturday, 22 December 2012
INT Base 1997 Cine Shoot Crew - BFG PDF Print E-mail
Scientology International Base, Gilman Hot Springs, CA.
July - September 1997

Well, this story starts off in July of 1997. This is story of the Cine Shoot Crew.
This crew is responsible for shooting all of the educational films for the Church of Scientology.
They are based at Golden Era Productions in Hemet California.

This story is 2 months in the life of a Cine Shoot Crew staff member.

These are Sea Org staff, which at the time were paid about $40 week. I am going to go into detail about life and the things that these people had to go through and maybe some of these experiences will answer questions you all have asked as towhy people would go through what they do there. Once you see how things are set-up, you will realize why more people do not leave. At the end of THIS incident at least 5 people DO either immediately blow or leave the church due to the severity of the physicaland mental torture involved.

Here we go.
We had to shoot a film so that it could be released at the Auditor’s Day event coming up in September. The film that needed to be shot was Technical Training Film #1 - TR’s in Life.

Mitch Brisker was a Professional Director that was hired on to direct the films and all other staff that produced thefilms were Sea Org members. Mitch Brisker had been a Scientologist for many years. The story went that years back he used to routinely do drugs and one day he woke up with his dead (cocaine overdosed) girlfriend next to him in bed. He ended up doing the Purification Rundown and years later he would become a commercial director and then somehow he ended up at Gold directing all of the Tech films that needed to be re-shot. They needed to be re-shot because the ones that were shot previously were so low quality as to be completely unwatchable and embarrassing.

Note: (Dave Miscavige was on the crew that shot all of the OP films and no films that he shot are available today.)

The rest of the Shoot Crew were Sea Org members. There were about 25 of us. This was the Camera, Lighting, Make-up, Costumes, Props, Sets & Talent. An equivalent Hollywood crew doing the same type of film shooting would have had at least 3 times the amount of people we had.

We had 4 vehicles that all staff and equipment had to fit in. We had a 1979 GMC lighting truck (that routinely was broken down somewhere) we had a 1979 camera truck, And Chevy dually with trailer and a white 15 passenger van. There were only 5 staff of the 25 staff that could or were allowed to drive these vehicles. In the Sea Org at Gold, there are specific requirements that have to be in place for you to be able to drive. Very few staff fall into these categories.

1. You have to have done Car School. A course that requires that you attend study time for a full month at 2.5 hours per day so that you can learn about how a car works and learn how to drive.

2. You have to have current valid driver’s license. 1 out of 20 Gold staff have a current valid driver’s license.

3. You have to NOT be on the PTS list. This is a list that is generated by Perimeter Council. Since all mail going to and from Gold is opened and read by Security, any Bad Indicators or critical remarks towards Scientology by any relative or friend will land you on the PTS list. Until you formerly handle or disconnect from this person, You will remain on the PTS List. Also if you get sick in any way, you will be added to the PTS list until the person who is suppressing you is located and handled or you formerly disconnect from them.

4. You have to have read the manual for the vehicle you wish to drive and another person has to quiz you on specific points of the manual until you are able to answer any question that they pose.

5. You have to not have any accidents or tickets on your driving record. If you had an accident or ticket, you have to re-do Car School and pay for the accident or ticket fees to get back “on the road.”

6. You have to be insured on the vehicle you wish to drive. If it is a personal vehicle, then you yourself have to cover the insurance costs out of your $40/week. If it is a org vehicle, you must get approved and added to the overall insurance plan. Like I said, very few staff make this list, out of 25 of us, we had 5 and that was doing real well. In some parts of Gold, out of 50 people only 1 or 2 people could drive. The vehicles were mainly needed to transport the crew when on location shooting and to and from the studio. You see, during this time period Gold did not have it’s own film studio and the one that was used in prior years was tiny and barely big enough to shoot videos in.

Gold actually did a majority of the film shooting in a abandoned nuclear bunker at the Norton Air Force Base in San Bernardino. The Air Force had just moved out and actually gave a portion of the base to the local San Manual Indian tribe as part of some government deal.

So Scientology actually paid rent to the Indians and they used the money to build themselves a Casino. So each day we would load up and travel 40 minutes from Gold to an abandoned Air Force bunker located in the middle of nowhere. At the end of the day we would pack up and head back to Gold. There was no operational air conditioning in the building that was used and on some days during the summer it would be over 110 degrees in the studio and there were portable air conditioning units that were hired in to direct at the actors in between takes so that their make-up would not melt off of their faces. Yeah, this is the place where 90% of the Scientology Tech films were shot!

Now if we were shooting on location, we would have to usually get up around 3-4 AM so that we could pack up all of the equipment and travel to a location, set-up and shoot. Then pack everything up and travel to back to the studio. For the TR#1 film, we had around 30 sequences that needed to be shot. Most sequences would take a full day to shoot. Mitch, the Director had decided that about half of these sequences he wanted to shoot on location as opposed to in the studio. This meant that we would have to stagger the shooting so that one day we would shoot on location, the next day we would shoot in the studio. This would allow for the sets crew to switch out sets while we were on location and so on.

Well Dave Miscavige had wanted to release the TR#1 film for Auditor’s Day and that was in September. It was the end of June, and based on how much time it would take to edit the film, get the music and final mixdown done, he had arbitrarily decided that the film had to be shot by Sea Org day. That gave us about a month to shoot 30 sequences. Every day that passed was a lost day and getting shooting started right away was a must. We pretty much started within a few weeks after location scouting, budgets and designs were all done and approved.
Our daily shooting schedule went something like this:

DAY 1 - We would get up at 6AM and leave for Norton, we would shoot all day and get back to Gold around 10PM. We would then have our meetings and go over the next day’s shoot which was a location. We would go home around 11PM.

DAY 2 - We would get up around 4AM to leave for Norton. Pack up the gear and get to our location. Shoot all day and get back to Gold around 10PM if we were lucky. Have our meetings, and go over the next day’s studio shoot.
Go home around 11PM. At least we get to sleep in until 6AM!

DAY 3 – Repeat DAY 1 schedule….

DAY 4 - Repeat DAY 2 schedule….

And so it went for a full month like this. By the time we got to the last week of the film, crew were falling asleep standing up, driving, you name it. Most crew would get to sleep whenever we were traveling. But as there were only 5 drivers and 4 vehicles, most of these driver people slept 2-5 hours a night on a good day. Some nights we would get back from a location shoot at 1AM and have to be at the studio at 7AM the next day.

Well, we get to the end of the film and this is where things get a bit tricky.
The end sequence of the film contains all of the actors that appear throughout the entire film. So you have 30 plus actors that all have to be available to drive out into the middle of nowhere and spend 6 hours on a set that is 100 degrees. Add to that, a camera move described in the script from LRH that is nearly impossible to achieve and was not even done on the previous version of the film shot.

This sequence was re-shot 3 times as each time it was reviewed; Dave said that it was not okay and that it would not be okay for the film. So we would shoot it one last time. We finished very late that night at the Studio and dropped the film off at the base. It was Sunday night and Tuesday was Sea Org day. We were finally going to get a day off and the film was done!

We came in Monday and the shots were reviewed.
They were not okay. Dave was pissed.
His plan was foiled and the film would never get done in time now.
What did this mean? What were we going to do? Organizing another shoot was out of the question as we had actors out of town, on other projects, etc. we had already shot the sequence 4 times and some actors refused to come back again no matter what. And those were the Scientologist actors!

We demanded that amongst the 4 times the end sequence had been shot there must be enough footage to be able to cut together a full sequence and be able to finish the film. No, this was not an option. Dave Miscavige himself had stated that without the end sequence properly shot, the entire film was a bust and could not be completed. We did not know what was going to happen, but we knew it could not be good. We were basically puppets waiting to put into motion. Well, no matter what happened, we knew that Dave Miscavige would be pulling the strings. That first tug happened soon enough.

First on the list was for all of the Dept Heads to get heavily Sec Checked by RTC staff. This would include any and all suspected activities that we could be involved in. Hookers? Theft? Sex with the actors? Goofing off? Sex with each other? Gambling? You name, we were asked it.

We were asked the exact same questions over and over again, worded differently, anything and everything was thrown at us. This went on for at least 8 hours straight. We had screwed up the filming of the one sequence 4 times and there must be some real crimes below this.

No one wanted to hear about us not sleeping for a straight month. No wanted to hear about the crew pooling their own money to pay for gas for the org vehicles. No. The only thing that was wanted was for us to admit to the committing most heinous crimes imaginable and then it would all make sense. Dave Miscavige said we had crimes, so until we admitted to those crimes, it would not stop.

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