7 Thoughts From Filmmaker Harold Ramis About Writing & Creativity

“I’m at my best when I’m working with really talented people…”

Brock Swinson
2 min readFeb 3, 2024

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Stripes, Harold Ramis and Bill Murray

I never had the chance to talk with Harold Ramis, but if you were an 80s or 90s baby, he certainly influenced your work and comedic choices.

Best known for films like Meatballs, Caddyshack, Stripes, Ghostbusters, Back to School, and Groundhog Day, he’s a master of the craft.

Here’s a few things creatives can learn from Harold Ramis…

1.

Don’t feel guilty, find balance. “We all wish we could be in more than one place at the same time. People with families feel guilty all the time-if we spend too much time with our family, we feel we’re not working hard enough.”

2.

Sometimes, the question is more important than the answer. “I believe things happen that can’t be explained, but so many people seem intent on explaining them. Everyone has an answer for them. Either aliens or things from the spirit world.”

3.

Understand the lens in which you see the world. “Comedy and tragedy co-exist. You can’t have one without the other. I’m of the school that anything can be funny if seen from a comedic point of view.” (This one also reminds me of my conversation with Dan Levy).

4.

It’s not just what you make, it’s what you make despite the obstacles. “Life doesn’t care about your vision. Stuff happens, and you’ve just got to deal with it. You roll with it; that’s the beauty of it all.”

5.

You are merely the guide. “You just make sure you don’t screw it up. It’s going to work as long as you don’t mess it up. Hopefully you have plenty of those moments in a big comedy.”

6.

Understands what drives you. “I never work just to work. It’s some combination of laziness and self-respect.”

7.

Greatness comes from a gentle approach. “I’m at my best when I’m working with really talented people, and I’m there to gently suggest or guide or inspire or contribute whatever I can to their effort.”

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Bonus: Here’s a video we just created on How Harold Ramis Crafts Theme that features screenwriter Lee Eisenberg (The Office) and actor Stephen Tobolowsky (Ned from Groundhog Day):

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