AN UNSCRIPTED CAREER Ian Brier (Post ’00, B.A. in English) was born and raised in the Bronx, the son of LIU Post philosophy professor emeritus, Bob Brier, the famed Egyptologist. With a degree in English and a résumé that boasts screenwriting, news research and war documentaries, he is now Creative Director at Showtime.
Eventually, you moved to Egypt for work. What prompted that? I wanted to get more chops when it came to field production. This was right after 9/11 and it was during the run-up to the war in Iraq. I knew there was going to be a lot of foreign coverage from the Middle East and I tried to get the foreign desk to send me over there at the time. Nobody was really willing, but I was sub-textually told, ‘If you’re over there already, there’ll be freelance coverage.’ So, I went over there on my own dime and within a week had lots of work. What brought you back?
You started off in news. How did you end up changing directions? My very first job in television was at MSNBC, which was brand new at the time, right around 2000. It was a great experience for me, but simultaneously I knew I wanted to write and produce and be involved in the storytelling end of the business. I knew of a documentary series about historical American wars that Fox was starting. Through my time working on the shows, I got my first Associate Producer credit and my first opportunity to run a postproduction process, script writing, various sort of nuts-and-bolts stuff. It was my first dip in that pool.
LIUMAGAZINE | 2018
I was a little homesick and I missed New York. I moved back and the only gig I found was a one-hour film I wrote for Nat Geo called “Inside” about the Detroit PD. Shortly after, a friend who had done some editing for Showtime got me a meeting with executives here and that’s when I began. In 2012, they hired me permanently. Seems like that’s been a good fit. What’s kept you around? At Showtime, there’s a really good work-life balance. When you consider the television industry in general, that is not an industry that has a good work-life balance, but here there is one. That is precious beyond words. Also, we do so much of our work in-house. We have all of our own post-production facilities, audio facilities, design department and animation;
it’s all here. The fact that it’s all in the same building is an unbelievable benefit. You can prototype an idea, try things out, get people’s opinions, and mix and match different disciplines. That’s heaven to someone who likes doing creative stuff. What’s it like producing content that entertains people across the world? It’s crazy and it doesn’t get old. I continue to be so grateful that the thing I work on every day — sometimes really grind away at — eventually people see that work. It’s not anonymous. We put it on the internet, and then it’s on TV, and then we get to watch people respond to it in real time. That is just unbelievably satisfying. And the part of it where you’re on set shooting with a movie star who you’ve known your whole life and they’re saying the words that you wrote, that will never be uncool to me. How has your English background at Post shaped your career? I became much more dexterous with the written word. If you want to work in the film industry, a huge part of your success is going to be your ability to convince someone of an idea you have. Someday you’re going to have make a room full of people nod their head in agreement, and being a blackbelt communicator is the thing that’s going to let you do that. •