Today’s interview is with Kamran Khan. Kamran is involved in AAFL TV. More in AAFL TV can be found here. Kamran has also gained acclaim by placing in a number of screenwriting contests, such as American Zoetrope Screenplay Contest and Scriptalooza.
Justin Samuels (JS): How did you start out screenwriting? Did you study it formally?
Kamran Khan (KK): My best friend from college was a film major. After graduating, we made our first independent film back in the 16mm film days, which we wrote ourselves. It wasn’t formatted by industry standards, but with our best guesses as to where the margins should be. It was a lot of on-the-job training. After that, I picked up a basic how-to format a screenplay book and started writing. I studied other scripts from writers I admired, and I just kept practicing by writing as often as I can.
JS: How did you get hooked up with AAFL-TV?
KK: I attended an Unfinished Works event held by the Asian American Film Lab last year. I was very impressed with their mission of promoting gender/ethnic diversity and the quality of artists they were spotlighting. I kept going to events and learning about the Film Lab. They hold a yearly 72-Hour Shootout and have some impressive judges for the contest so I submitted a short film to the contest and won a Top Ten award. I was invited to be a part of the fledgling Production Arm (AAFL-TV) and here I am!
JS: Please tell us what AAFL-TV does.
KK: The main goal is to promote gender and ethnic diversity in media and to create content that furthers this goal. I think it’s best said by AAFL-TV! From the website: “A delicious, calorie-free and oh-so healthy scoop of bold, bright, innovative entertainment in every flavor genre imaginable, available in mini (5 min and under), regular (28 min) and grande (50 minute) sizes to fit your mood and schedule!
From cooking shows to web series to films and from comedy to drama to horror, to everything in between, it’s entertainment at your fingertips to suit your every mood. Plus, every time you watch, you support DIVERSITY in film and television, both in front of AND behind the camera!”
JS: What particularly projects are you working on at AAFL TV?
KK: We have wrapped the first season of My Not So subConscious, a webseries where a woman’s subconscious takes on a life of his own. Episode one just premiered this past Monday. Episodes will be released every Monday for the next five weeks. I’m working on Season 2 of the series as well as a few other ideas I’m pitching to the AAFL-TV board.
JS: Where can we watch your projects, as well as other AAFL TV content?
KK: All content is available on the AAFL-TV website.
JS: Do you feel that in terms of lack of diversity in the media, that things are improving? What are the best ways to improve diversity in the media?
KK: Improving yes, but there is still a very long way to go. The best way to improve diversity would be by trusting American audiences to enjoy stories made by and/or featuring minority actors in roles that are not stereotypical. Currently it certainly looks like the assumption is that American audience will only like seeing a minority in a stereotypical, accented role.
The best positive example, and kudos to JJ Abrams, was the casting of Faran Tahir in Star Trek as Captain Robau. There was no reason for Captain Robau to be South Asian, he just was. More castings are needed across film and television that make this more common, rather than the exception to the rule.
JS: What sort of upcoming projects do you plan on doing long term?
I have the second season of My Not So subConscious, a pair short films (one a sci-fi short, the other a black comedy), and then a comedy feature film I’ve been developing for a while that I would love to start shooting early next year. I also have a novel I’ve completed that I’m currently submitting to agents for representation.