Andrew Stanton’s ‘Finding Dory’ SoundWorks Collection Interview

Andrew Stanton sat down with SoundWorks Collection to discuss Finding Dory as well as his collaboration with Thomas Newman.
Andrew Stanton Pixar Headshot
Director Andrew Stanton is photographed on February 4, 2016 at Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, Calif. (Photo by Deborah Coleman / Pixar)

Andrew Stanton recently sat down with SoundWorks Collection to discuss Finding Dory as well as his collaboration with Thomas Newman and the team at Skywalker Sound. The 25-minute interview begins with a broad question — “When you think of sound, when you think of music, what were some of those early influences, whether movies or experiences, that caught your attention to listen in differently?

This sets the stage for the audio-centered interview as Stanton explores the films that inspired him early on as well and shaped his view of film.

As the discussion continues, he speaks of his close collaboration with Thomas Newman (Finding Dory composer) and why they work so well together. Stanton says, “He can’t do anything simple – it has to have layers, it has to have complexity to it and I think I’m the same with anything that I’m writing. I want it to have a lot of contradiction, a lot of conflict, a lot of controversy, a lot of diversity.

We couldn’t agree more, Newman’s score is extremely layered and utterly unique.

Along the way, Stanton revealed a few additional insights that were very interesting:

  • He mentioned that he didn’t take himself seriously as a writer until he was 27 (when working on Toy Story) and made the connection that it’s just transcribing the story that’s already in his head (since he always struggled prior to that thinking about the structure and such).
  • Stanton offered some great insight into working with vocal actors — noting that when he started he stayed outside of the recording booth, then he transitioned into the booth standing alongside the actor. Now, he takes a mixed approach, sometimes staying outside of the booth but getting a microphone and acting a scene out with the talent (rather than just having them repeat the lines individually, now the actor can really bounce off of a scene with someone). 
  • Andrew also offered praise and insights working alongside the team at Skywalker Sound — Michael Semanick(re-recording mixer) and Tim Nielsen (sound designer / supervising sound editor).

Be sure to listen to Stanton’s entire interview for even more Finding Dory details and check out more interviews as part of the SoundWorks Collection Interview Series.

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