Phosphorus Alights is a partnership, with two current partners: Warren Metzler and Fred Riskin. They were long time friends, having met each other in 1980, when they both lived in New Jersey just outside New York City. At the time they met, Fred was involved in fine arts photography; and Warren was a physician in private practice, focusing on wellbeing medicine. Years after they met, Fred became interested in movie making; and in 1992, he and his family moved to Los Angeles; after which, Warren would periodically visit them. During one of those visits, one which took place in the Spring of 1996, Warren and Fred were having lunch together; and during that meal, they spontaneously decided to co-write a movie script; and by the end of the meal, they had flushed out a story.

That original story was about a physician; who, as the story opens, has taken a research position with the Genome Project. The Genome Project actually exists: it was, and is, a government funded project, that involves several research centers around the world; created with the intention of mapping all the genes that exist on human chromosomes (finding out on which chromosome, and exactly where on that chromosome, each human gene is located). Soon after the physician joins the Genome Project, he begins to discover major contradictions in the genetic theory.

At this point a side bar is needed, so you, the reader, can understand the basis for Warren and Fred writing this type of story. The status quo (the majority of the population of any country, or culture) of the western world strongly believes that the genetic theory is truth. And, from their perspectives, any story that indicated the genetic theory was false would have to be science fiction. But, Warren and Fred are not part of the status quo. They firmly believe, and actually claim they know, that the genetic theory is totally false. Warren and Fred do not consider the story, just presented, to be science fiction; and, furthermore, they personally guarantee that all the scientific information, that was going to be presented in this story, is factual (verified by the status quo's own research).

Many years prior to deciding to write this story, both Warren and Fred had come to the conclusion that the genetic theory of inheritance was a hoax; all of its concepts were false: from the first concept formulated by Gregor Mendel, a Czech monk, back in the 1860's; up through the genetic concepts that are believed here in the twenty first century. How can this be? Is it possible for Warren's and Fred's perceptions to be valid? Can the entire status quo be in error about this point? See the movie and decide for yourself.

Some additional background information. Warren and Fred propose, that each human, who has existed since the beginnings of human history, operates from one of two world views:

He is a rationalist: he presumes he can think, and then implement what he concluded with his thinking; and he possesses an intense desire to consciously control his individual destiny. To be a rationalist, you have to presume that all life operates mechanistically: each living entity, humans included, is a machine made up of parts, with each part operating on its own; although all of the parts are supposed to collaborate with each other. There can be no spiritual component to the human; because if there is a spiritual component, then there may a Supreme Being; and if there is a Supreme Being, then each human really doesn't control her own destiny. And the assumption that you control you own destiny is the core of being a rationalist.

She is an empiricist: she presumes God creates everything and runs everything; and, further presumes that the only conscious freedom she possesses is to accurately, or inaccurately, observe what she is exposed to. In other words, in each daily activity she encounters, she acts without consciously choosing her actions; puts her whole focus on optimizing the activity; and only after the activity is over does she think about it, and draw her conclusions regarding it. She in no way believes she can consciously control her own destiny; because she knows that her destiny is controlled by God.

One could succinctly present the difference between rationalists and empiricists in the following manner: rationalists presume they can think and then act; empiricists believe they act without conscious choice, and, then, after all the actions involved in a given activity are over, they think about the outcome of their behaviors. Rationalists are oriented to achieving their agendas (preconceptions they favor). Empiricists are oriented to making all what they encounter be as optimal as possible; and, therefore, don't have agendas.

Warren and Fred propose, that, since the beginning of record history, all of the status quo have been rationalists. Therefore, the majority of scientists throughout history have been rationalists. Accordingly, all the scientific theories that are popular (believed in by the majority), and all scientific theories that government legislation favors, are based on rationalistic thinking. Now, rationalistic thinking has an unfortunate aspect; which is that theories that further the cause of rationalism will be promoted, even if the research done by rationalistic scientists produces data that negates those theories. In other words, all the scientists, who are rationalists, conduct experiments, and assess the data produced by those experiments, with the intention of validating their rationalistic theories. Such scientists never first pursue successful outcomes; and then, develop theories that logically and rationally explain those successful outcomes; (such actions would be act and then think, and only empiricists pursue such actions). Given all of this, it is entirely possible that genetics continues to be promoted by most scientists, even though the research doesn't actually support the theory. The content of the movie extensively explores this situation. That brings us to the end of the background information. So, let us return to presenting the history of the company.

Once the lunch was over, Fred commenced to write the script; and Warren began to research what settings and what story details would need to be present, to make the movie appear authentic. However, within a short period of time, Warren's research began to indicate that the equipment used in genetic research was quite sophisticated. Which meant that such equipment would be quite expensive to duplicate for the laboratory scenes that occurred in the movie. When the project was first conceived, back at that restaurant luncheon, both Warren and Fred expected to sell the script when it was completed; they did not, at that time, presume that they would make the movie. Given the expense of the sets in their original story, and given that both he and Fred were unknown in the industry, Warren developed a concern they might have a difficult time selling the script. So Warren called Fred and discussed his concern with Fred. And, during that discussion they decided to change the story. They decided to have the physician be a resident in internal medicine. But they still kept the essence of the story: the physician discovers that conventional medicine has poor results.

As time went by, other problems arose that required changes in the story; but each such problem was fully resolved, and the script got closer and closer to being ready to be made into a movie. It was, however, a process that lasted several years.

About two years after the project's onset, during one of Warren's regular visits to the Riskins, Fred showed Warren a brochure that described two courses: Nuts and Bolts: I and II. Fred had taken the first course and thought highly of it. These courses were taught by Robert Bordiga, a person who has had much experience in making movies and in television productions; having been an AD Ñassistant directorÑ (the person who runs the set during shooting), a UPM Ñunit production managerÑ (the person who sets up a movie administratively, and hires most of the people who will make that movie), and a line producer (the person who takes over the UPM's position once the movie is in production, and administers the making of the movie; sort of an off-the-set AD). These two courses covered, in much detail, all that was involved in making a movie: from the first moment a producer gets a script, through to the actual shooting of the movie, and a bit about the post-production process.

Warren read the brochure, and talked to Mr. Bordiga, and decided to take both courses; which were offered over two subsequent weekends (each course lasting one weekend). And Mr. Bordiga was an excellent, and quite knowledgeable, teacher. As the courses progressed, a concept began to take form in Warren's mind: the administrative tasks involved in making a movie were quite similar to the administrative tasks Warren performed while running his medical practice (which he had been doing, by that point in time, for over fifteen years). That awareness lead to a further conclusion: since Warren was competently administering his practice, he probably could, if he sought out all the advise he could locate, do the same with administering the making of a movie. Accordingly, as soon as the second course was finished, he called Fred and suggested they make the movie themselves. Fred agreed, and Phosphorus Alights was born. That is, the company was formed, the actual name did not get chosen until a few months later. After they agreed to form a company, they then discussed where the movie should be made; and it was concluded that the most practical location was Los Angeles: Fred was already living there with his family; Warren was single and could, of the two of them, most easily make the move; more movie making personnel and equipment sources were located in Los Angeles than anywhere else in the country; and the weather was conducive to movie making year round. Fred found an office and furnished it; and in late October of 1977 Warren drove out to the west coast, arriving November 1.

Before Warren left New Jersey for Los Angeles, Fred placed advertisements for cast and crew in several movie trade publications. And, as a result, as soon as Warren arrived they had applicants to interview. Over 1,000 people responded to those ads, and over 400 of those 1,000 people came for an initial interview. But, even with the large numbers of applicants, insufficient numbers of people signed a letter of agreement to be able to make the movie. Warren and Fred were quite disappointed. But they each promptly looked for a new approach.

In the document describing Phosphorus Alights' model for making a movie, ( a document found on the introductory page of this section: Company information), there is a description of empiricism; which is the philosophy Warren and Fred adhere to. Empiricists believe there is a Supreme Being, God; and further believe, that God creates and runs everything that happens on earth. Which, from Warren's and Fred's perspective, meant that God was responsible for too few people signing on to make the movie. Now, Warren and Fred are not fatalists, they don't just fold up their tents and go home when a dead end appears; because there is an additional aspect of empiricism that comes into play in such situations. Empiricists believe that all dead ends (all limitations, all misfortunes) are a message from God: a communication that an available opportunity is being missed. Therefore, once a limitation appears, there is no attempt made to surmount it, nor to pack up and go home. No, there is immediate effort put into finding a new approach to the limited situation. That new approach can involve embarking on a new endeavor, or can involve making a major change in one's current lifestyle, or can involve doing a current activity with a different approach than was being previously used. And, more information, empiricists always look for the new approach by looking for their next impulse: feeling drawn to some destination, while at the same time knowing you have no idea what will be the final outcome.

So, back there in the Spring of 1998, after it was obvious that The Empiricist was not going to be made at that time, Warren and Fred looked for their respective impulses. And each of them had an impulse to take courses in various aspects of movie making. Fred concentrated on directing and cinematography, and Warren concentrated on picture editing and production administration and dialogue recording on the set. And, this continuing education phase lasted several years.

During the autumn of 1998 Fred took a directing course. And while taking this course, he was required to direct and edit a scene; but it could not be a scene he had written. So, he went to a bookstore to find a scene. After reviewing a number of books, he found a scene that intrigued him; one taken from a play called Light Sensitive. And he then used that scene for his director's workshop. When the workshop was over, Fred presented to Warren, that he, Fred, felt incomplete about the course. He felt he had been given far too little time to prepare for, as well as to shoot the scene, and to edit. And, also, that the setting, a large room in the school complex, was insufficiently dressed (insufficiently made like the real life situation of the scene). He felt inwardly lead to re-shoot the scene, on his own, and to, this next time, do it as authentically, and competently as possible. Warren agreed.

Now, up to the point in time they were considering shooting this scene, both Warren and Fred had been biased toward shooting movies at real locations; and were opposed to shooting movies on sound stages with sets. This bias was more out of ignorance, than based on any personal experiences; and was defended by the claim, that locations were ÒrealÓ and sets on sound stages were ÒfakeÓ. They did accept, that it is was reasonable to shoot scenes in sets that were erected on a sound stage; but only if one constructed such sets to appear like a real location; which from their perspectives, would have to cost a great deal of money; and Warren and Fred did not have that amount of money. However, by the time they decided to take on this new project, Warren had extensively investigated the various locations, that were available for shooting movies in the Los Angeles region. And, based on that exposure, Warren had concluded that those available locations were obscenely expensive: the average cost, just for the site itself, (without any money being spent on set dressing, and lighting, and the costs of getting the cast and crew to the location), being $5,000.00 per day. This conclusion, lead Warren to perceive Fred's proposal as an opportunity to investigate shooting on a sound stage; at a cost level Phosphorus Alights could afford. Warren knew the entire scene took place in one room. And given this, Warren assumed they could rent a small stage, construct and dress a realistic set, and not spend that much money for the entire process. So they decided to shoot that scene by themselves, shooting it on a sound stage with sets they personally constructed.

Then Warren had another impulse: shoot the scene with all the equipment and personnel that are used in a feature movie (a realistic set, professional camera and sound and lighting equipment, hair and make-up, a full crew, and so forth). This way, once the project was over, they would have the answer to several questions: could a scene that was shot on a stage set, look authentic; and what does it cost to make a movie? It would only be a ten minute movie to be sure, but the process of making it would reveal most of what is involved in making a full length feature: a sort of mini film school. They set about to do the project.

Prior to when Fred and Warren began to interview cast and crew for the making of The Empiricist back in late 1997, they had concluded Phosphorus Alights should operate as a film making community: having the same group of people make one movie after another; the film equivalent of a repertory theater company. And, as a result of that orientation of theirs, each cast and crew member who signed to make The Empiricist was considered to be a member of the Phosphorus Alights film cooperative. A newsletter went out every month, and there was a monthly movie night to which each signed person was invited. Accordingly, when they decided to make the short, they first turned to the actors and crew persons who were already signed with Phosphorus Alights. It turned out, there were enough signed cast and crew to make Light Sensitive: the short.

Fred set about designing the set, and rehearsing the three actors who were selected, and determining how the scene was going to be lit and photographed. And Warren set about finding a small stage to rent and making all of the logistic arrangements. Finally, in the summer of 1999, they shot the short at a stage called Mack Sennett. Interestingly, this stage has historical significance: it was originally constructed back before 1920, when only silent movies were shot; The Keystone Cops being one of the movies shot there.

Many problems occurred during the shooting of the short: one of the three cast members dropped out the day of the shoot, the lighting set-up was poor, the work days turned out to last unacceptably long due to great inefficiency, and so forth. But, once the exposed film was edited, and once the entire event was reviewed, it became obvious they had learned much about the logistics of shooting a movie. And, since that very information was the basis for doing the short in the first place, the project was considered a success. In particular, Warren and Fred became clear that shooting scenes on sets on a sound stage, if properly constructed and dressed, looked authentic when the finished film is shown in a cinema. They also learned, that shooting on a sound stage was much more convenient, and superior, and significantly cheaper, then shooting on locations: in terms of recording the dialogue, filming the images, lighting a set correctly, how much equipment is necessary, and several other aspects that are involved in making a movie.

For example: The set creation costs of the short (the stage rental, the set construction and dressing Ñmaking it look realÑ, was approximately $6,500.00). The set creation costs, if the short had been shot on a location, would have cost over $17,000.00.

Based on their experience of shooting that short on a stage, Warren and Fred established the following principle for all their future projects: for each movie, shoot as many scenes as possible on a sound stage. *(Incidentally, this principle was fully substantiated during the shooting of The Empiricist, which was done in the latter part of 2001; based on what transpired during the three weeks the company shot on location )*. Out of Fred's impulse to shoot a scene properly (real looking location, and sufficient time to rehearse and shoot and edit the picture in an acceptable manner), Warren's and Fred's bias (which had been unfounded and incorrect) was completely reversed. Empiricism is a wonderful philosophy.

As was presented previously, a multitude of technical problems occurred during that first shoot. And, as a result, Warren and Fred decided to shoot the short again. And they took this action based on another aspect of Empiricism: keep repeating every project you do (work, personal, or social), until you get that project to have an acceptable outcome (an outcome that can be productively used somewhere by someone); never give up a project before you achieve an acceptable outcome, regardless of how many times you have to re-attempt it, unless you become aware that project cannot ever succeed (it is structurally flawed). And, once they decided to shoot the short a second time, they added another component: they decided to take the material they recorded (the film and the dialogue), through all the post-production steps a feature movie goes through. They added this additional component, to further their education regarding movie making. The assumption being, that by the time they finished Light Sensitive: the short #2, they would be familiar with all the steps a production company takes when a full length feature movie is made: from obtaining a script; through obtaining the necessary cast and crew, and setting up the required logistics, and shooting the movie; and on through the post-production steps that transform the raw film footage and raw sound tapes into a polished movie (one that can be shown in a cinema).

It took close to a year to complete that second project: find another actress (to replace the actress who dropped out during the shooting of the first short), arrange all the logistics, shoot the short, do all the post-productions steps, and produce the release print. And the second shoot went much better than the first shoot, although significant technical mistakes were still made. But, once the picture was edited, and all the other post-production steps were accomplished, the short was a viable thirteen minute movie. Following are some of the post-production steps that were done: cutting the negative, editing the sound; color correcting the film; composing music; having opticals (titles and shot transitions) done at an optical house; having a final sound mix; combining the sound track, and the negative, to produce a release print (a print that can be shown in a cinema, that has associated sound; all of which is presentable). Once the process was completed, the short was shown to the cast and crew in a screening room.

After the entire process of making Light Sensitive: the short #2 was over, Warren and Fred had an impulse to shoot the entire play as a feature movie. They considered this a viable option for the following reasons: the entire movie, with the exception of a few minor scenes, takes place in a single room; the three actors who were in the short had the only speaking roles throughout the whole play; the entire play could be filmed using only the elements that were used while making the short: the same set, the same stage, the same equipment; just shooting a few more scenes, and just shooting for a longer period of time; and the story was uplifting. They then searched until they found the playwright. But even after several dialogues with him, they were unable to come to a meeting of the minds.

What were they now to do? They had learned how to make a movie, from the initial creation of a script through to the shooting phase and on through the entire post-production phase. And, therefore, they felt they were obviously meant to make a full length feature. But which movie? The answer soon revealed itself: attempt, once again, to make The Empiricist. And so they did. This time their trade advertisements resulted in signing sufficient cast and crew. That movie was shot from September through December of 2001, and should be ready to be shown in cinemas by the end of September of this year (2002). If you are interested in more details about how The Empiricist was made, it is available in the section called Our movies. Just return to the top of this page, and click on the navigational button entitled Our movies, over on the left side of this page; then, on the page you are then taken to, click on The history of The Empiricist.

Before we leave this document, a few words are warranted about empiricism; especially its attitude toward problems (limitations, dead ends, misfortunes, etc.). It was stated previously, that empiricists never fix problems; that they, instead, when any one problem appears, pursue a new opportunity; discovering which opportunity to pursue, by following the impulses that unfold within the empiricist. Warren received an impulse to write a script, and Fred agreed to be involved. At the time, they both, collectively, knew almost nothing about the practical aspects of making a movie. Yet, by repeatedly following the impulses that came to each of them; and by pursuing new opportunities whenever a dead end showed up; they learnt how to make a movie. And not just a movie, but a good movie at that. And, furthermore, in this six year plus process, they developed a whole new model for making a movie; one that is fundamentally different from the model the status quo follows, as it makes movies. Empiricism is an excellent philosophy to follow.

Warren and Fred are clear, now that they know a fair amount about how the movie industry operates; that, if they had sold the script, The Empiricist would never have ended up as it currently exists. Only through following empiricism could Warren and Fred have moved from being novices to making an uplifting movie.

A few comments about the new model Phosphorus Alights follows. The model for making a movie, that almost everyone in the movie business follows (major studios through low budget independent movie makers), is very ineffective and very inefficient, and very very expensive. Here in 2002, no one in a status quo production company would consider making a movie, that they perceived as commercially viable, for less than five million dollars. The Empiricist was made (up to, and including the release print, the trailer Ñthe previewÑ, the poster, the press kit, and the radio ads) for around $650,000.00. And The Empiricist is a commercially viable movie. The Phosphorus Alights model, including the aspects that were developed during the entire process of making The Empiricist, allows any group of serious filmmakers to make a commercially viable movie with their own funds. Empiricism works!