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News: 12/01/2016

Sound design expert at Speaker Series

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Randy Thom, director of sound design at Lucasfilm’s Skywalker Sound, will speak at the Hanna Boys Center on Dec. 5.
Movie magic is a lot more complicated than setting up a camera and shooting a group of actors. Film may be a visual medium - it's called motion pictures - but the medium has evolved and is still evolving, a blend of artistry and technique that involves critical elements of casting, costumes, grips - look at the long list of after-film credits at your local Cineplex. And there is one essential element that is the subject of the next Sonoma Speaker Series - movie sound.

The next installment of the new Sonoma Speaker Series will feature Randy Thom, director of sound design at Lucasfilm's Skywalker Sound, who will be interviewed on stage on Dec. 5, 7-8:30 p.m., at the Hanna Boys Center.

Thom is a longtime sound recordist and mixer, two-time Oscar winner, and has been nominated another dozen times. Thom was working in audio in public radio 40 years ago when he approached the father of modern sound design, Walter Murch, who hired him to work on Apocalypse Now. From there it was on to Lucasfilm and a slew of other films, including Return of the Jedi, The Right Stuff (Oscar #1), Forrest Gump, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, The Incredibles (Oscar #2), and most recently, The Revenant.

What ties all these vastly different films together is story; they are all masterful examples of how filmmakers use the medium to engage and enthrall audiences all over the world and in dozens of different languages. And that is why Thom succeeds as a sound designer and creator - he, too, is a storyteller, one who works in and strongly advocates for the importance of sound in story.

Thom will be interviewed by veteran NPR correspondent John McChesney, who began in the world of audio with Randy Thom at a small public radio station 40 years ago.

General admission to the Dec. 5 event is $35, with VIP tickets $45. VIP ticket holders are invited to a special reception from 6-7 p.m., with a meet and greet and complimentary wine and hors d'oeuvres, plus reserved seating in the front rows.

For tickets or more information, go to

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