Tess Torelli March 4, 2018

Since college, Ramsay had been paving a straight path toward a career in politics. After studying government at Dartmouth, Ramsay worked as an associate editor at National Review, the flagship periodical of American conservative intellectuals. He was tapped in 2006 to work for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, but his tenure was cut short after a few months when Rumsfeld was “unceremoniously kicked to the curb” following the midterm elections.

Soon after, Ramsay was hired by Rumsfeld’s successor, Robert Gates, who served under the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama until 2011. After four years as a Pentagon speechwriter, Ramsay shipped off to Kabul, Afghanistan, writing for Gen. David Petraeus for another year. He eventually worked as a senior speechwriter for Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.

After years of writing speeches for government officials, Ramsay had had enough.

“I just got to a point where I felt like it was time to move on to something else,” he said.

After earning an MBA in 2013, Ramsay found himself at a crossroads: Should he follow the safer, more natural progression into business, or “throw caution to the wind” and pursue screenwriting?

He made the impractical choice. “Even when I was at the Pentagon, I read books on screenplays,” Ramsay said, “to sort of understand the art and the craft of it.”

The risks were clear: At that point, Ramsay wasn’t sure if he would be any good at screenwriting, or if he would even enjoy it.

But his prior work, he said with a laugh, endowed him with some transferable skills. “Political speechwriting is its own form of fiction, right?”

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