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Sound Effects
Music and sound effects are integral parts of any motion picture experience and the filmmakers at Pixar have always used these elements to maximum advantage. With "Finding Nemo,” Andrew Stanton got a chance to form a new collaboration with composer Thomas Newman, and continue a long-standing relationship with multiple Oscar®-winning sound designer Gary Rydstrom. 

Newman, a five-time Oscar® nominee and a recent Emmy winner for his theme for "Six Feet Under,” was a major inspiration for "Finding Nemo” even before he came on board. Stanton wrote the screenplay for the film while listening to Thomas Newman scores on his headphones. During the editing process, Newman's music was used in the scratch track as much as possible. 

Co-director Lee Unkrich describes Newman's music for "Nemo” as "a very lush orchestral score that has a lot of very quirky and interesting instrumentation layered in. There's an unexpected quality about it. You don't always know what you're hearing or what some of the sounds are. He does a lot of overdubs, where he'll gather a group of musicians together apart from the orchestra session and have them play lots of interesting percussion and instrumentation. Then he'll layer that into the music that's been recorded on the soundstage with the orchestra. 

"It's been a real joy to work with him and he's been working with us very much as if he's a part of Pixar,” adds Unkrich. "We wanted him to have as much freedom as possible. He's been an amazing collaborator who wants to support the film in every way he can. He knows how hard we've been working on it and wants the film to be great. This is really the first big action film he's scored. His music often has a moody and darkly humorous quality.” 

Producer Walters agrees, "Thomas would play everything for us on his keyboard sequencer at his house. Towards the end of production, we would go down there almost once a week and hear all the music to picture mocked up in his studio. It was an unbelievably good working experience. By the time we got to the recording sessions, we had heard everything but it sounded so much better with a 105-piece orchestra. For our film, he also did his signature overdubs, where he goes in with his posse ahead of time and records things to go on top of the orchestral stuff. With the turtle drive scene, the music breaks into a full-on classic surf rock sound. His score is very classy and it plays the emotions a lot.” 

The filmmakers came to regard Newman's score as being practically a character in the film. His reputation for originality and intensifying mood and character through music added an additional level of entertainment and enjoyment. 

Seven-time Oscar®-winning sound designer Gary Rydstrom has worked on every one of the Disney/Pixar features released to date and preceded that with work on such Pixar shorts as the 1989 favorite, "Knick Knack.” He once again lends his incredible talent to complete the experience of "Finding Nemo.” Complementing the visual excitement of the film, Rydstrom's inventive catalogue of sounds adds to the sensation of being underwater. 

"This was a movie with no feet, no footsteps and no traditional foley,” says Rydstrom. "So one of the basic things we had to do was make a believable movement track for all the various fish, and give each of them their own character. One of my favorite sounds was the one we came up with for Nemo's damaged fin. It has a little flutter almost like a wing flap. I created a very simple flapping sound with a paper towel. There's almost a hummingbird quality to it. Marlin propels himself with tail flaps so he sounds a bit neurotic. For him, we basically used the sound of the fish character in the Pixar short "Knick Knack.” Dory makes more of a smooth cutting sound as she moves through the water. She's just going through life havin


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