Behind the Story: Kam Kardashian

By: Adam Guerino 

kam-kardashian

Before The Story is a blog about storytellers by a storyteller. Adam Guerino has written about the storytelling process as well as interviews with other storytellers. In this edition, he speaks with the storytellers behind the web series Kam Kardashian.

Like it or not, you probably know of the Kardashians. Who you probably haven’t heard of is Kam Kardashian. But in your defense, the Kardashian family probably hasn’t heard of her either. She’s the title character in the new web series Kam Kardashian created and produced by Fawzia Mirza and written, directed and edited by Ryan Logan. The fictional character Kam is the black sheep of the family (and when considering this family, that’s saying a lot,) who is supposedly outcast for being a lesbian. Click here for the first season as well as the first episode of season two, http://www.youtube.com/kamkardashian/

I was fortunate enough to talk to Ryan and Fawzia about their web series. First up, Ryan Logan. Ryan Logan is an award-winning short film director living in Chicago, IL. His work, often noted for being playfully inventive, has received over 100 festival, museum, and university screenings throughout the world including Seattle International Film Festival, Outfest, Newfest, Frameline, and Palm Springs International Shortsfest. His work has been programmed in diverse venues such as the Director’s Guild of America, Lincoln Center, British Film Institute, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, National Canadian Gallery, and the Royal Ontario Museum.

So, Ryan, you write, direct and edit the web series Kam Kardashian–is it ideal to do all three or is it out of necessity?

I would say it’s a little bit of both. I would, in the future, enjoy writing and directing and let other people edit. But I do love editing and editing other people’s projects as well. I enjoy the craft but it can get a little tedious.

Are you a Kardashian fan or more of a fan of the fans?

I didn’t really know who any of the Kardashian’s were before we started. I knew Kim from advertisements and things and I knew of the show. I’m more interested in how much people are interested in them. I wrote a piece with the Huffington post about my fascination with, I guess, other people’s fascination. I mean, these are people who literally just get massages on television and people watch hour long blocks of this stuff.

How much of a gap was there between seasons one and two? Were you always planning on having a second season?

We actually shot everything by last April, in 2012. We were just trying to figure it out as we went along. We shot the first episode as though it was going to be a web short. I showed up on set and we just captured improv moments on film for Fawzia’s film reel. Then she suggested we film more and the first season was just a collection of episodes and guests figuring out the tone and layout. Then, in November, Fawzia said let’s do a second season and we began raising money. The second season was when we actually plotted everything out and had deliberate structure.

Has there been any word from the Kardashian’s? Are there concerns about the legality of inserting a fictional character into their lives?

No, we haven’t heard anything. We had discussed it quite a bit. At Out Fest at SXSW, someone told us that a Cease And Desist could be the best thing to happen. Because as an artist, we do lots of things and that sort of attention might not be good for the series but good for our careers. But we try not to do anything mean and hope that comes through.

What are your hopes for expanding the series?

For now, we made the second season. We’re just going to see how it goes. When you make a web series, you do blogs and appearances in hope to attract followers because you just want people to see it. It also helps our future endeavors and anyone involved with the projects because we’re doing something and we want to be working.  We just want it to be seen.

And now for Fawzia. Fawzia Mirza is an actor and producer based in Chicago. She has appeared in the movies Jamie and Jesse Are Not Together, The Widow and The Queen Of My Dreams and has produced the films A Fish Out Of Water and The Queen of My Dreams and is currently in rehearsals for a role in The Goodman Theater and has been named one of Chicago Magazine’s “Most Beautiful People.”

Being a professional actor, was the comedic shift of Kam a departure from your comfort zones or a welcome change?

In some ways, sure, because it’s not all that I do. I went through Improv Olympic and ever since I was a little husky kid, being funny was my way of not feeling like an outsider. Having an overdeveloped funny personality was a way to feel included.

How was Kam created?

I had an audition for a comedy show and being someone who identifies as queer, I wanted to do a queer character. A friend and I decided it would be funny if we did a queer Kardashian. And doing the character, on camera, was like creating a bio. That’s when I started collaborating with Ryan and we both turned Kam into our significant other.

When you created her, did you imagine that she’d span over multiple seasons?

No! …I mean, sure, there’s always a dream. We originally planned on one episode. Then we thought we’d throw her on the internet and see what happens. And people responded really well. Not only did people respond well but we were drawn to her and her kooky life.

Flash forward, 5 years, where’s Kam? Still on the web? On Tv? Or just a fond memory of an eccentric actress?

God no, she’s on TV. Duh, hands down, she has a tv show. She’s probably getting a GLAD award, she’s getting a GLAWD award. She’s hosting the Grammy’s.

Stay tuned to the Kam Kardashian youtube page as well as become a fan of the facebook page. And if you want to party with the Kardashian, here’s a link to the event she’s doing in Chicago Sunday April 7th.

BONUS: Watch Fawzia and myself appear in a PSA for Pakistani flood relief here.

Note: This originally appeared on the author’s blog, you can view this and more here. 

Adam Guerino is a writer in Chicago who works nationally as a performer and producer. He is the author of the ongoing relationship blog Boyfriend Land and the interview and storytelling blog Before The Story. He has been featured in The Onion’s AV ClubWBEZ Chicago Public RadioTimeout Chicago, andRedeye Chicago. His production effort OutLoud Chicago installs queer entertainment in mainstream venues including Queer Comedy at Zanies at Zanies Comedy Club which has been recognized asAdvocate.com‘s “Shows To Support” and Redeye Chicago‘s “To Do” and Timeout Chicago‘s “Critic’s Pick.” He frequently performs nationally, as a stand-up comedian, MC/host and spoken word storyteller. For more about Adam, www.adamguerino.com is a good place to start.

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