Comedy/Co-Founder Tree4ort Records
West Hollywood, CA
WHAT DO YOU DO?
Ian the writer:
I write comedy sketches, TV, and Film scripts.
I consult on creative projects requiring knowledge of geopolitics, world history, culture, geography. I especially excel on giving creative input for any stories involving war and espionage.
Ian the businessman:
I am the director of Tree4ort Comedy and I co-own Tree4ort Records. I hold Stand Up Comedy shows and Open Mics, record podcasts, audio sketches, and film short comedic sketches. As a record label, we also record and produce a lot of music and sound effects as well as manage and cultivate artists.
WHAT STEPS DID YOU TAKE TO GET TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW?
I studied International Relations with an emphasis on the Middle East, former Soviet Union, War, and Organized Crime. I studied Arabic at the American University in Cairo during the Arab Spring. I worked in various Foreign Affairs roles in Washington, DC: Counterterrorism, Military Intelligence, and Corporate Security. I resigned from my last job with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at the end of 2016 for a couple reasons:
1. I always knew creativity would eventually take precedence over my international career.
2. I was powerless to make a positive difference in the world (or even the region that I worked on) and
3. Trump got elected president, so I said “fuck this, I’m not working for this asshole!”
…and moved back to LA (…after traveling to South America for 6 wild ass weeks.)
Since 2017 I’ve worked two other (not funny, not creative) jobs while writing TV pilots and spec scripts until I went into business with three friends of mine.
NOW I think it’s time to properly impart the global knowledge I’ve picked up over the years for any creative client as well as my own storytelling purposes.
HOW DO YOU STAND OUT IN YOUR FIELD?
I might be the only person who owns a recording studio and comedy venue that also speaks four languages and has a Top Secret Security Clearance.
I consume so much history and current affairs that I could consult on TV/film projects based in almost any country and period.
My Linkedin bio:
I have made a career in understanding global security and aspects of International Affairs like Transnational Crime, War, and Terrorism. On my path I've absorbed widespread and unique knowledge of cultures, languages, and trends spanning numerous continents and ethnicities. I have put these skills to dynamic use.
...Due to my adventurous life, I have capabilities in the creative and entertainment fields that can't be found in another human!
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?
-Presently I am producing a podcast with a friend on all things international, from current events to culture and history with a humorous twist. I’m keeping the name a secret while we edit out our filthiest dialog. (So filthy!)
-A spec of Killing Eve (my new favorite show)
-An adult-animation pilot called “Please Invade Earth”
-An essay on the collapse of the Western Liberal Order.
-A screenplay based on a techno song that is basically Children of Men meets Pirates of the Caribbean.
^All of these and more are going to blow your f**king mind.
-Improving whatever competencies I have for the arts and entertainment industry.
-Constantly drawing a cartoon series called Help is NOT Coming.
-A portfolio…on my website! Informthepen.com
WHAT'S YOUR STYLE/PERSPECTIVE/TASTE? DO YOU HAVE A PROJECT THAT REPRESENTS THIS?
I draw a cartoon series called “Help is NOT Coming”, which depicts people in hopeless situations about to die….but I make it funny!
I’m a little bit sick in the head and I love war and espionage film. I have a dark take on things. However, I also love films where the protagonist really kills his/her demons, ends the war within, and therefore triumphs in an external struggle.
That being noted…I consider myself a comedy writer.
WE ALL HAVE MULTIPLE SKILLS OR WORK IN VARIOUS INDUSTRIES, WHICH ONE DO YOU WISH YOU COULD FOCUS ON MORE?
Storyboard Art! I suck at pitching, I pull my hair out when writing, BUT I could tell a joke or create tension in 1-3 frames.
With even slightly better visual arts skills I would post my TV and film “pitches” to Instagram in the form of Story Boards, after registering them with the WGA, of course.
WHAT IS FRUSTRATING YOU RIGHT NOW?
Every struggle is overcome within our own minds ☺
But seriously, lack of structure and lack of hard deadlines. I work best when someone tells me they’re going to kill my dog if I don’t finish an assignment by a certain date.
IF YOU COULD HIRE SOMEONE FOR $20/HR, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE THEM DO TO MAKE YOUR DAY EASIER?
I would have them organize my memoirs, clean my room, pick up my mom from the airport, respond to all my emails, read the news, get my coffee and groceries, and give me a back massage!
I would also have them pick me up from the local saloon when I’ve become so laced out of self pity that I’ve begun a standoff with the barman and patrons when I should have went home after the fourth fuzzy navel.
Oh OH! And I would have him/her sell drugs that make way more than $20/hr and give me the profits. (He or she would still only earn $20/hr and would be classified as a “paid intern”.)
LET'S BRING OUT THE TIME MACHINE. WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU COULD HAVE TOLD YOURSELF, WHEN, AND WHY?
INT. SAN FRANCISCO APARTMENT - DAY
22-year old Ian Strome sits alone in his bedroom watching an Adam Sandler movie, a lit joint in his left hand. Suddenly a man appears between him and the TV in the flash of a second. It’s him at age 32!
32: Yo bro! Straight up. Don’t judge yourself or others too harshly, and live in the moment. Everything is going to be sssuper awesome!
The younger Ian is more annoyed than surprised that his future self is blocking the TV.
22: That’s it? You came from the future and that’s all you have to say? No warnings. No stock market tips?? …And you don’t look rich! What the hell did I do wrong?
The older Ian is offended about how ignorant he once was.
32: Ay I don’t need this shit! If you don’t take my advice IT DONT FUCKIN’ MATTER!
22: (beat) Anything else?
32: Yea! You dress like a total asshole!
22: Whatever, man. Fuck off.
32: Fuck you!
32-year old Ian fades away flipping the bird with both hands.
IF YOU COULD TALK TO AN EXPERT TO GAIN MORE INSIGHT ON SOMETHING, WHAT WOULD IT BE ABOUT?
How do you invoke that all-embracing humanity that forces you to sit down RIGHT NOW and stick to writing this story until IT IS DONE? Where do you do your best writing?
How do I ignore time? How do I “be present”? What is most important? Will I ever find love? How will I die?
(This will be ONE HELL of an expert!)
WHAT KIND OF OPPORTUNITIES/PROJECTS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?
All the writing gigs. Short, long, fiction, non-fiction, period-based, etc. Whatever YOU give ME will inevitably help me become the writer/man I want to be.
Script consultant/ staff writer/writer’s assistant/cultural strategist/ on a production on one of the areas I proclaim to be an expert on. I seek to demonstrate and add value in a way that only I can.
DESCRIBE YOUR IDEAL JOB/CLIENT/COLLABORATION.
A studio making a super awesome show like Killing Eve or Homeland with real, dangerous, intense, sexy stuff!!
Anything with Matt Groening, Danny Boyle, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Guy Ritchie, Oliver Stone, George Lucas...it's a long list.
Realistically, I’m quite flexible. I’d love to find the perfect writing partner or production team. I’ve been putting one together, but I’m looking for a sure thing—individuals of outstanding integrity, kindness, creativity, and awareness.
WHAT IS YOUR HOURLY RATE, RETAINER, OR SALARY RANGE?
$30/hr I suppose.
WHO IS A CREATIVE THAT HAS HELPED YOU ELEVATE YOUR WORK?
Waylon Barnes – talented lyricist, confident businessman, and overall master-hustler. A giant boulder of positivity protruding through rivers of negativitiy!
Ruben Guevara – a dogged writer, director, and producer with several scripts under his belt and films being made since he was 15 years old.
Charisse Reneau – freelance producer, connector, and international woman of mystery. Taught me everything I know about the entertainment industry and remains the way I measure the pulse of it above all other sources.
John Harper –hardworker, talented lyricist, expert sound engineer for music, voiceover, and ADR. Reliable AF and great attitude.
Guam Felix – Hard worker, unwavering good attitude, funniest person I know, indomitable spirit.
Zina Rumleanscaia – Probably not her real name. Also, probably a Russian spy.
HOW SHOULD SOMEONE APPROACH YOU ABOUT WORKING TOGETHER?
Email, facebook, instagram followed by phone call and meet-up.
HOW DO YOU STAY CREATIVE?
Meaningful personal connections. Meditate. Exercise. Fantasize!
This member profile was originally published in July 2019.