It is easy, when watching your favorite film, to forget about the music that enhances the story and to be simply entertained. A score has the ability to create a villain, like in Jaws, to fire up an audience, like in Chariots of Fire, or to become an iconic piece of music that lasts generations, such as many of the pieces from Star Wars, for example. Ramiro Rodriguez Zamarripa has always been taken with the power of composing within film and has devoted his life to the craft. He writes music to emphasize and highlight the emotions portrayed in the film.
“The art of writing music to picture is a special one. As a film composer you never have a completely white canvas, you always have a guide, a framework that structures your music, the picture. As a composer, I am first of all a dramatist, a storyteller. Whatever music I write needs to serve the film first. It doesn’t matter how complex or simple the music you write is, the only thing that matters is if it works with the picture, if it serves the story,” he said.
Throughout his career, Rodriguez Zamarripa has used his talents to help tell the stories of many beloved films and television projects. His resume includes highlights such as the shows Adam Ruins Everything on TruTV, Tigtone on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, and the mega-hit series Cobra Kai, as well as the theatrical production Atracción Fatal. With every project he takes on, his music adds an element of storytelling, captivating audiences and exemplifying why he is a sought-after composer in his home country of Argentina and abroad.
“What I like about composing is that it is a creative process. You always start with silence and end up with sounds carefully arranged and organized that will hopefully stimulate another person’s emotions. Writing music can also be great fun, fooling around playing instruments until you find something that strikes your attention can be very entertaining. Composing is also like solving a puzzle, once you have a basic idea you are always trying to figure out an alternate version of it, how to present it in a different way, how to go from one section to another, how to create contrast, how to take an idea and develop it so that it doesn’t become boring,” he said.
One of Rodriguez Zamarripa’s most renowned projects on his resume is the Dreamworks hit show Kung Fu Panda: The Paws of Destiny. Based off the blockbuster films, the show follows Po, the Panda and Dragon Master, who has endured his fair share of epic challenges, but nothing could prepare him for his greatest one yet-as a Kung Fu teacher to a group of rambunctious kids from Panda Village who have been imbued with a mysterious and powerful chi energy. Together they embark on amazing adventures, battle ferocious villains, and become legends. Rodriguez Zamarripa had always been a Kung Fu Panda fan, and when he was given the chance to work on the series with the company he works for, Attitude City Music, it was a dream come true.
“What I liked the most about creating music for this show was the music style. The music for this show has an Asian flavor, mixed with spaghetti-western elements, hip-hop beats and full orchestra. To be able to work with such an interesting palette of sounds was super fun. I also really enjoyed the fact that the show has very diverse scenes, some are very dramatic and sad, others are very heroic and there also are lots of action cues. Having to switch between these types of moods made writing music for this show very entertaining,” he said.
Music plays a crucial role in the show, and therefore, Rodriguez Zamarripa’s role not only as a composer but also as a score coordinator was pivotal to the show’s success. The story has a variety of themes and goes through different moments and the major role of music is to not only emotionally highlight these different situations, but also to connect them. Most of the characters in the show have their own theme, or distinctive sound that Rodriguez Zamarripa helped to create, and this helps the audience follow the story. The music also adds to the emotion behind the scene. It’s very common to have a funny scene, or an action sequence that communicates a comedic or urgent sensation but still lacks something. That’s when music comes in to push those emotions even further.
Rodriguez Zamarripa had a similar role on the Dreamworks television series, Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia. The Netflix original, created by Oscar winning Director Guillermo del Toro, follows Jim Lake Jr., an ordinary kid with a busy mom and a yearning to have more adventure in his life. As it happens, Jim gets more than he wished when he finds a magic amulet under a bridge calling to him. With that discovery, Jim finds himself recruited as the next and first human Troll Hunter, a guardian that defends the world of humans and the secret world of trolls.
“I really liked how the show relies on themes like friendship, family love and loyalty between others. Although the show takes place in a fantastical world, the themes and message behind the story are very relatable in today’s world. I was also very impressed by the quality of DreamWorks’ animation. It’s amazing how real those characters and landscapes look even though one knows they are not real or of this world. The way they are animated, the attention the animators have to the smallest details brings an unreal world to life,” said Rodriguez Zamarripa.
The success of the show is not only measured by the audience’s amazing reviews, but also by the numerous awards the show has won and been nominated for, such as the Daytime Emmy Awards, the Annie Awards, the Golden Trailer Awards and the Kidscreen Awards.
“It feels great to have contributed to the success of the show. I’m very proud of being part of the amazing team of talented people that was able to create such an amazing world envisioned by the amazing Guillermo Del Toro,” he said.
Be sure to check out both Kung Fu Panda: The Paws of Destiny on Amazon Prime and Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia on Netflix to hear what a talent Rodriguez Zamarripa truly is.