Lolita Ritmanis says she doesn’t have time for writer’s block. “We plop ourselves down at our keyboards and know that by the end of that day five to six minutes of music must be completed.”
Ritmanis completed the Dick Grove School of Music Contemporary Composing and Arranging program, followed by the Film Scoring Program, and landed a job as a music proofreader and orchestrator, first at Disney, then Warner Bros. While earning a living by day orchestrating for heavy-hitting composers, Ritmanis wrote her original music by night.
Her first big break was a job with composer Shirley Walker, who was working on a new television series for Warner Bros. Animation called Batman: The Animated Series (1992). Ritmanis was a member of Walker’s team—composing, orchestrating and conducting. Ritmanis earned her first solo screen credit under Walker, and two years later sshe formed Dynamic Music Partners together with two other Walker proteges: Michael McCuistion and Kristopher Carter.
Ritmanis notes that the industry has not evolved “quickly enough” for women, and those who are successful have a duty to help. As such, Ritmanis serves as President of the Alliance for Women Film Composers. “This is a field where the top-rated films and TV shows are still predominantly scored by white men,” she says. “Things are changing, however. Through education, advocacy, amplification and dialogue, the industry seems to be waking up to the fact that this inequity is simply wrong.”
And her words to aspiring women composers are empowering: “Learn your craft, be professional, be tech savvy, be on time, be bold, be confident, be an amazing composer and never ever allow anyone to take away your power,” she says.
“Sexual harassment, gender discrimination will no longer be tolerated.”