At The Inscriber magazine we are big fans of music composers because we are very aware of the emotions their work create on the audience when watching a film. Can you imagine watching a movie with no music scores? The film industry would probably be out of business…
We got to talk to Ramiro Rodriguez Zamarripa, one of the top Argentinean music producers who is now living in Los Angeles and working non-stop on big productions!
We knew Ramiro’s work from the hit Netflix series Cobra Kai, starring Courtney Henggeler and Tanner Buchanan, but he has worked in numerous Hollywood productions such as Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous, Hulu’s multiple Emmy nominee series PEN15, Epix’s docu-series Helter Skelter: An American Myth, from award-winning filmmaker and documentarian Lesley Chilcott, and many others.
Another series for which we have been following Ramiro’s work is the hilarious comedy Die Hart, starring Kevin Hart, John Travolta, and Josh Hartnett.
But this music prodigy started his career in Argentina composing music for commercials. He has worked on some iconic commercials such as Coca Cola or Adidas among others.
Ramiro studied Composition and Music Production at the prestigious UCA (Argentina) where he graduated with honors. Upon graduation, Ramiro’s passion for film music led him to move to Los Angeles to attend the Film Scoring Program at UCLA. During this time, he had the opportunity to collaborate with Tim Davies (La La Land, Frozen, Ant-Man, and the Wasp) and contribute to the soundtrack for DreamWorks’ Trollhunters.
We sat with him to talk about the music industry, how is life in Los Angeles, and more!
Why did you move from Argentina to Los Angeles?
I moved to Los Angeles to continue my studies and deepen my musical knowledge by focusing on film scoring. I quickly found the Film Scoring program at UCLA and decided it was perfect for me. I was also very interested in exploring all that Los Angeles has to offer and eager to meet fellow composers, producers, and directors. The city is well known for its film screenings, and networking events and I was really looking forward to developing new relationships with other creative professionals in other to grow my career. After all, most of my music idols and film composers I look up to live in the city of angels. I’m also a bit of an adventurer and found the idea of leaving my home country to pursue music in Hollywood a challenge worth taking.
What differences do you find between working in the music industry in Argentina vs. Hollywood?
There are lots of differences, the main one being the industry’s size. The film industry is very small in Argentina compared to Hollywood. This is not only reflected in the number of productions being produced every year but also in the films’ budgets. This is why I began working as a composer for commercials, there was simply not enough work in the Argentina film industry. Contrarily, there is a lot more opportunity here in LA where the film industry is massive. In LA it’s easier to collaborate with people at facilitates that can accommodate larger projects. All big-budget productions rely on teams of people to put a film together and the music department is no exception.
You’ve worked on projects for some of the biggest studios, such as Dreamworks. What advice would you give to composers to get that far in their careers?
I’d say surround yourself with talented people you enjoy working with. Making a film is a collaborative effort, people constantly need help and they’ll get you onboard if you are talented and easy to be around. Collaborate with young directors, writers, and fellow composers. Another piece of advice would be to strive to be as good as you can at what you do. Work hard to be great at your craft, you need to be able to deliver when the time comes. Social skills and networking are not enough, you need to excel at what you do.
What do you think a film composer has to have to be successful?
I believe a film composer has to be a social and friendly individual. Once again, making a film is a group effort, composers deal with other creatives constantly. So people need to enjoy being around you. Different films require different styles of music, so I would say having a diverse background is very helpful. I truly believe a successful composer must be able to jump around different music genres with ease. All great composers have a vast knowledge of musical technicalities, such as harmony, counterpoint, orchestration, music notation, and music software. Last but not least, a composer must have no ego. It’s often hard for us composers to accept the movie is not ours. We as composers are providing music for the director’s movie in order to fulfill his or her vision. Composers are quite often too precious about their music.
You have worked on the mega-hit series Cobra Kai. Tell us about your experience working on it.
It has been a fascinating experience. First of all, it’s been a dream come true. I grew up watching the Karate Kid movies, and now being part of the franchise, it’s surreal. Being able to contribute music to such an iconic sequel is a privilege and something that I’m really proud of. I was able to interact with a part of the cast when we did the Cobra Kai live show at The Whisky-A-Go-Go, which again was something out of a dream. Another great thing about the show is that the music is so much fun to write. Blending a big orchestra with 80’s synths, guitars, and drums is really entertaining. I’m really happy the show has had the global success that it has and that it’s connected with fans from all around the world.