Composer and producer Ronit Kirchman says one of her favorite and most unusual film score compositions in her own catalog is 2012’s The Skin I’m In, which illustrates the range and diversity of her work. “It was a small production with a big emotional palette,” Kirchman says. “[Director] Broderick Fox is a talented and smart storyteller. I just felt like there was a lot of room to give people an emotional journey through music. There is a part of the story immersed in the Berlin techno scene, and I did a hybrid score with a lot of electronica and dance music elements blended with orchestral writing and unusual percussion and woodwinds.”
A classically trained violinist and Yale graduate, Kirchman found her way into composing music for theater and film after college, eventually landing a scholarship through Sundance to spend a month at the Institute’s film composing lab.
“In film composing, whatever you bring to the table has to integrate fully with the vision of the director, producers, all the other creative contributors. It’s definitely a team sport,” Kirchman says. “But I find each story opens up aspects of my composition I haven’t explored before. So the creative process is not necessarily push-pull between composer and director.”
To keep alive and develop her individual creative instincts and maintain her sense of self as an artist, Kirchman regularly works on pieces “for their own sake.” It helps her keep a team-effort mentality when she’s working on film compositions. “One of the worst things a new composer can do is go into a scoring situation, and they don’t want to budge. They just want to write what they want and refuse to revise.”
Kirchman recently became a board member of the Alliance for Women Film Composers, which provides support for the “shockingly few” women in the field. To that, Kirchman says “don’t give up” to the aspiring female film composers. “Creativity can be a fragile thread. People get discouraged, because the industry is not a piece of cake,” she says. “Women should just remember: you’re not alone. If you have a strong creative contribution, there will be people who want to hear that.”