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Isaac H. Ravishankara

By Victoria Kim, Crimson Staff Writer

“I’m looking forward to spending many years sleeping on floors with no money,” says Isaac H. Ravishankara ’07 of his immediate future.

But his friends believe he will thrive in his creative projects in the real world as much as he did at Harvard.

Ravishankara’s online video shorts have gained him minor fame, and his movies have been featured on MTV’s college network. Now, as he heads out into the real world, he’s set on making it in the film industry.

This year’s graduating class has enjoyed four years full of Ravishankara’s creative works. Beginning with the band “Action Man” that performed at the freshman talent show four years ago, he’s played in two bands, penned three comic strips, directed 12 episodes of the campus-soap Ivory Tower, and shot 16 movies.

“I just like doing these projects. I can’t ever really pin down one thing,” Ravishankara says.

The physics concentrator says he is hooked on filmmaking because it allows him to be innovative in many capacities.

“It lets me do a million things at once,” he says.

“He’ll be creating a lot of stuff that other people will be watching and enjoying,” says Shawn Liu ’07, who co-authored two comic strips with Ravishankara and has known him since their high school days in Boulder, Colo.

Ravishankara’s films thus far range from comedic shorts satirizing the YouTube phenomenon to a fiction film about robbers wearing fake mustaches. The artist says he aspires to create things that are fun but with purpose.

“Who cares if a million people watch your movies if you’re not making the stuff that you enjoy,” he says. “I would like to be in the position and mindset where I’m able to make movies that have meaning.”

“Isaac’s definitely a romantic at heart, and that comes out in his movies,” says Nathan J. Dern ’07, Ravishankara’s roommate since freshman year who has acted in most of his fictional pieces and started the Star Wars tribute band “So Long Princess” with him.

Ravishankara arrived at Harvard four years ago expecting to become a physicist like his father. The change of path wasn’t easy, and Harvard hasn’t always been fully supportive of his creative efforts, but Ravishankara kept his creative energy kindled and seized the opportunities that came his way.

“Harvard won’t give you anything, you have to take it,” he says.

And Ravishankara has taken advantage of a lot Harvard has to offer. He shot movies on 16mm film on Harvard’s dime, earned a secondary field degree in VES, and met friends that truly inspired him.

“There is this incredible diversity in people that go here and the opportunities available,” he says.

Dern, of recent reality-TV fame, says he and Ravishankara recognized something in each other freshman year. “I thought he was really cool, he had big cool hair,” Dern recalls. Dern and Liu, who have been Ravishankara’s accomplices in many of his projects, say whenever Ravishankara had an idea, he made it happen.

“Harvard was tough but he’s a stronger person for having gone through it,” Dern says.

—Staff writer Victoria Kim can be reached at

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