Monthly Inspiration: Harold Ramis

Monthly Inspiration is a blog series that’s about what inspires me; filmmakers, styles, actors, scripts… each month, I’ll cover one new piece of inspiration. Hopefully I can turn you on to something that will inspire you as well.

If you’re a child of the 80’s or 90’s chances are you grew up with Ghostbusters (imdb.com). I know I sure did; hell I was Egon for Halloween 6 years in a row. For that fact alone it makes Harold Ramis (imdb.com) worth showcasing for Monthly Inspiration. But as I grew up and got more into watching movies the films he wrote, directed, produced, and starred in had a huge impact on my life.

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I can trace a lot of my sense of humor and comedic timing (what little I may have) to Ghostbusters, Stripes (imdb.com), Animal House (imdb.com), and Caddyshack (imdb.com). His list of knock-out credits is huge and played a major role in how I turned out. Harold Ramis may not be on most people’s list of influencers; but he went from Second City (an improv troupe in his hometown of Chicago), to SCTV (imdb.com) (the Canadian version of SNL), to Hollywood, and straight into the lives of millions; including mine.

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Ramis was an incredibly talented actor. But beyond playing Egon in Ghostbusters, and forever changing the way I looked at science, he also wrote, directed, and produced films like Groundhog Day (imdb.com), Analyze This (imdb.com), and Meatballs (imdb.com). Being so multifaceted made Ramis a powerhouse in the world of comedy and he worked with all the biggest names: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, Robin Williams, Chevy Chase, John Candy, Gilda Radner, Billy Crystal, etc.

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As a writer/director/producer Harlold Ramis was as big as they get and he created some of the most iconic (at least to me) characters and films of all times. I’ll never forget the first time I saw Animal House and looked at my dad as if I had just found Jesus. For as long as I can remember I’ve always connected with his writing/directing/acting/sense of humor in a way that I don’t with most other comedy gurus. It takes a lot to make me sincerely laugh, Ramis always does it for me.

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Back in February (of 2014) Harold Ramis passed away due to complications from other health issues. It was the first celebrity death I ever honestly cared about. A few days later I came to the realization that many of my favorite actors, writers, and directors are getting to the age where they’re going to start dying. After he died I went back and watched all of his movies and it reinvigorated me on the craft of making films. So in a way Ramis’ death gave me the kick-start I needed.

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Growing up I only had two career aspirations: to join the military, and to become a Ghostbuster. I grew up with Harold Ramis being a major part of my life. When I got a little older and I started adapting the style of comedy that he put out. And when I got into making films myself I turned to his body of work for inspiration. When Ramis died it hit me hard, harder than any celebrity death should, and gave me a solid push back in the right direction. Ramis has been, and always will be, a source of laughter and someone I look up to.

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Monthly Inspiration: Harold Ramis

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