An entertainment lawyer, an avid scuba diver and a Rumi lover, Kia Kamran is another interesting Iranian, making a difference in his hometown of Los Angeles. Having worked with many interesting bands, artists and actors, Kia has an easy way about him that takes life seriously enough to excel and lightly enough to enjoy. Kia represents among others, the great comedians from the Axis of Evil comedy tour. We had a chance to chat with him recently.
Shabnam Rezaei: Tell us a little about your childhood.
Kia Kamran: I was born in Tehran in 1968. My family then moved to Israel in 1978 right when the Iranian revolution came. We then moved to the US a year later. I went to school in Fresno, California from 7th through 11th grade, and then we moved to Los Angeles during my senior year. I have lived and attended school in L.A. since. My “childhood” in Fresno consists mostly of the typical American experience – there weren’t many Iranians there, so my formative years were spent doing typical blue-collar American things. . . hanging out with friends, chasing the latest music, drinking beer, going to dances and high school football games, etc. . .
SR: When did you become interested in law and what prompted your interest?
KK: It was a somewhat serendipitous turn of events, actually. After I graduated CSUN in 1991 with a marketing degree, I was hired as an assistant but then became a junior-agent at a music talent agency (www.varietyart.com), where we represented bands and put them on tour. In my second year there, I started getting a bit bored. One night, my sister (who had graduated law school in 1991) left some LSAT (Law School Admission Test) material in my room, and I picked it up and started doing the tests for fun. I ended up ripping through them. That same week, I read an article in a music trade magazine about Billy Joel and his lawyer, and there was a statement in there that essentially stated that “whereas in the film and TV industry, all the power lies with the agents, in the music business, all the power is with the LAWYERS.” That made quite an impression on me.
That same evening, I went to a nightclub in Hollywood to watch Rage Against the Machine (then unsigned and mostly unknown, except in the “industry”) perform. This was when all the record companies were courting this band. I was somewhat friendly with them and it was exciting to be involved in this process. That night, after a few beers and some other craziness at the club, I took a moment and looked around in the crowd and noticed that virtually everyone I had met in the “music business” was there, and for some reason, this one split second made me decide to become a music business lawyer rather than just any other agent or record company person. I thought to myself “I want to do better than this,” and lo’ and behold I entered law school about 8 months later.
Tell us about your clients and what its like to be in entertainment law.
KK: I am transactional attorney (as opposed to a litigator). At any given time, I have a client’s most pressing matter sitting on my desk. In my field, however, I am fortunate because I have a specific interest in and attraction towards the subject matter of these transactions (music, comedy, film, TV, internet, sports, etc. . ), so it is additionally interesting to be involved in something that is also creatively appealing to me. The biggest difference between what I do and what typical lawyers do is that I very often deal with matters that make me say to myself “this is really cool”, rather than “arrgh! I can’t wait to get this over with.”
The other fortunate part of my work is that, because I do not litigate, I am involved in a more, may I say, constructive area of work than lawsuits, which tend to take their toll on all parties involved, even the lawyers. Fighting for a living is just not my idea of personal growth.
Every once in a while, my iPod plays a song on random (shuffle) that makes me rock out, and it turns out to be one of my clients, and needless to say it makes ecstatic and thankful to be alive and to make a living in a world in which most other people play.
SR: Who is your most fun client and why?