My name’s Mitch Brisker and I’m the Senior Director. I’m also like a creative executive with Golden Era Productions. I’ve been involved with Gold since 1990.
I have to say this whole… this whole story is really the story of a young man who’s sixteen years old, discovers something he wants to do for the rest of his life and chooses a life of service, religious service to humanity, and joins the Sea Organization, a religious order. And is almost like a prodigy in terms of being an auditor, a professional practitioner of Scientology, and then ultimately works closely with the Founder of the religion, and that is chosen by him personally as the… as the individual who’s then going to be the leader and he’s entrusted with the materials to make sure that they’re pure, to oversee that.
And then at some point, his father enters back into the picture and here’s, you know, an unemployable musician with medical problems and legal problems and financial problems. And he takes him in and he shows him a kind of a grace and a kind of nobility that is far beyond what you would expect anyone to show anyone, not even… you know, even a father and a son. And then regardless of that individual’s two decades of saying, “Yeah, I want to do this and I want to improve and I want to get better”—turns around and just stabs him in his back… in the worst kind of treachery.
Okay. Well, my first encounter with Ron was witnessing him hitting on my girlfriend, in front of me. She met him at a local Scientology event and he asked her for her contact information under the context of inviting her to Gold to act in a film. She was an actress, and at first this seemed innocent enough. And I came home one day, she was on the phone and I’m like, “Who’s that?” She said, “Oh, it’s Ron Miscavige,” right. And it was kind of strange ’cause I figured, hey, maybe somebody from Gold would call, not the trumpet player, right.
And then he would call, like daily, incessantly, and keep hitting on her and trying to kind of figure out a way that he could connect up with her. And it was just really awkward. I mean, we knew who his son was. And so it… the whole thing was just really strange, to say the least.
I came to Gold in 1990, directing the LRH Technical Training films. And the scoring department is run by the Golden Era Musicians, a really talented bunch of guys. One of them, Ron Miscavige, trumpet player, was assigned to score a title sequence for me.
Never got it right. I gave him direction, direction, direction, direction and finally I gave him a piece of direction, he took it back and with somebody else’s help, he scored it. And then every time I would work with him, he would come back to me and say, “Now remember on that film, you gave me that piece of direction? What’s it going to be on this film?” And I’m like, you gotta be kidding. You mean, you tortured me and tortured me into giving you a piece of direction and now you just want me to do that again.
So then after that, I just kind of avoided him, because it wasn’t a collaborative thing. Like, you know, every key terminal, every key member of a filmmaking team contributes something. They bring what they have to the table. And Ron just didn’t… never brought anything.
I found him to be talentless and I avoided him. Most of our encounters—after the initial one where he just completely flopped on something we were working on and it had to be redone—I just avoided him. And so we would have cordial social discourses about weight training because he knew I had once worked out with a guy that he admired in the muscle-building area, and he would just constantly harangue me about information about my encounter with this person. So it was pretty much, it seemed like he was much more interested in exercise equipment than he was in the trumpet.
I was invited to Gold back in 1990, ’89-90. I was invited to come up, potentially direct a film, one of the—what we call the LRH Technical Training films, which—they’re films to train, that show people how to do Scientology, how to audit and so forth. I was familiar with these as studying Scientology as a student. But then I came up and I had an opportunity to actually direct these… these films scripted by L. Ron Hubbard.
Then I came to Gold. That was like a big honor, for a Scientologist. I mean it’s a very special place for a Scientologist. That was like a huge honor. Plus, to hold in my hand these scripts, these documents that LRH wrote—they’re part of our scriptures. Like, we don’t call them that, we call them technology because they’re spiritual technology. But to somebody else of another belief, they would—that’s… forms the core of it.
So, Mr. Miscavige’s, his job—well, he has many jobs, as I found out. But a good part, his main job really is to see that the quality of every aspect of Scientology—that means the purity of the tech, the quality of the films, not just artistic quality but the message quality. In other words, is the message really being carried forward in the film.
And I’ve seen it evolve since then into these unbelievable facilities—the Churches that fulfill the requirements, specifications as laid out by the Founder of the religion—in ways you could not imagine. And it all, it all happened because of the leadership of this one person, who was able to take people’s enthusiasm and their determinism, you know, and their belief and like, lead them. In the truest sense of the word—lead. Lead means to lead. That means to go first.
That’s my role and that’s what was laid down by L. Ron Hubbard. And he defined a film director and the person had a lot of freedom. He, by policy, defined the film director, as the French said, the auteur, which means the author of the film. So Mr. Miscavige gave me all of the freedom that that afforded, in that I was the author of the film. And I would propose it to him, my proposal, and he would check it against the tenets of the religion and the technical aspects of the religion and he’d give me a thumbs-up. And I’ll tell you, he never gave me a thumbs-down.
Well, the thing that really—the hallmark of that relationship, I would call it a collaboration, right. It’s… you know, film is a collaborative art form. And working with him was like having this person—it was more like I did these films with him. I mean, they were my films, I directed them. Some, many of them were from scripts written by L. Ron Hubbard, which was truly a joy. His job was to see that the message was correct—that the films were fulfilling their religious… their technical religious mission in training auditors.
But he would work with me, like collaborate with me. Like, not telling me what to do artistically, but to—it’s kind of hard to explain, in a way. But it really is a unique and wonderful kind of relationship, that I think few people are going to experience working with that great of a person that can actually give you leadership with collaboration. Like you’re gonna, you know—he rolls up his sleeves with you and he helps you. And together you get this thing done, you from your part and he from his part. You know, the mind-boggling thing is that he’s done that with so many people and it’s just like, how often do you get to work with somebody like that? So…
And I found out that what he was doing with me, he was taking the same care with all these other people and projects all over the world. And I thought, wow! You know, you can only be inspired to want to work for an individual like that ’cause you don’t get a lot of chances to work for an individual like that, not… nonetheless that you share that belief system and you have the opportunities to, you know, to be, participate in that. That’s why I say like, wow, I had a front seat to history. It’s like, not an exaggeration. And I got to kind of participate in it and actually witness it happening.
The more we produced, the more we got. The more productive we were, we would expand in proportion to the production. And eventually we ended up in this studio that we’re sitting in right now, this, you know, 80,000 square foot studio. It’s just an unbelievable facility. It’s maybe in the top three percent of studios in Southern California, which is, you know, the motion picture capital of the world. So that’s saying something.
And Gold is a very well organized. I mean this place runs like clockwork. I mean, it’s extremely well organized, they have a lot of dedicated, energized people, they have the very best equipment. And so this deadline thing, it’s like yeah, you’re going to have deadlines. If you don’t want to have deadlines, go get a nine-to-five job! You know, it’s like, it’s simple. It’s like everybody knows that. We used to joke about it on commercials. Like there’s just some people, you know they’re never going to make it into the higher echelons of creative, you know, like, positions and they’re not going to be creative directors or film directors or writers. They’re not. ’Cause they just wanna go home. They don’t like deadlines. “Nah, I don’t wanna do that.” They’re just… You know, it’s fine, the world has many different echelons of people. And when some of those, you know, lower echelons—like a trumpet player who wants to clock in and clock out—you know, it’s like they’re not the ones that are going to define what the world of a deadline is. Because there’s a lot of us that kind of live for a deadline, ’cause that’s where the real satisfaction is of getting something done.
They don’t like jumping out of airplanes either, with a parachute, because they think, you know, the ground rushing up, that’s just like a unreal deadline. But you know, some people love that. They pull the chute, da-de-da, da-de-da and they make a beautiful landing and everybody applauds, you know.
I’ve worked with these guys since 1990 and I know what kind of a standard of living they are afforded. And you can’t talk about a person’s income without talking about their standard of living, and they have a very high standard of living. Continued education, you know, Egyptian cotton sheets, high-speed Wi-Fi, time off to handle personal things, the potential to earn production bonuses, the healthiest meals that are prepared and ready for them, so they don’t have to worry about those things. They receive an allowance like church workers do and then on top of that they also have this standard of living, which you would have to earn a substantial income to afford that standard of living. So this pay thing is just like a joke.