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Contribute to NPR's Search for Sound

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A sound crew from Skywalker Sound records locomotive sounds

A sound crew from Skywalker Sound records locomotive sounds that were later featured in the animated film The Polar Express. Courtesy Skywalker Sound hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy Skywalker Sound
Hollywood sound artist Randy Thom

Hollywood sound artist Randy Thom, pictured in his studio at Skywalker Ranch, wants your help in finding new sounds for films. Art Silverman, NPR hide caption

toggle caption Art Silverman, NPR

Update — Nov. 12. 2007: NPR is no longer accepting submissions for this feature.

In movies, sound is as important as sight in telling stories and setting mood. Music is part of that, and so is dialogue. But there are also other sounds, such as footsteps and doors opening.

And then there is the type of sound made by factory whistles, machines, grinders, echoes in valleys, animals. Sound designers use a lot of this type of audio in film. One of the best in the business is Randy Thom, who crafted the sound for the upcoming Steven Spielberg release War of the Worlds.

Over the years, Thom has worked on the sound design for many pictures, including Apocalypse Now, The Polar Express, The Incredibles and some of the Star Wars films.

Now Thom wants the help of NPR listeners to broaden his palette of sounds from the real world.

You can describe the sound — and even better, record a bit of it so we can hear it, too. There's no prize, but your sound may end up featured in a Hollywood film.

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