Normand Roger and the Animated Soundtrack at the Academy

Music is a crucial part of most great animation, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is hosting a program this Sunday evening (August 10, 7:30 pm) on the subject. As I write, tickets are still available, and at $5 there can’t be a better bargain if you love great animation and you’re anywhere near Los Angeles.

Normand Roger Academy EventThe program will focus on the work of Normand Roger, who has scored and provided sound effects for over 300 films, including 6 Oscar-winning shorts. Four of those shorts will be screened, including two of my all-time favorites, Michael Dudok de Wit’s Father and Daughter and Frédéric Back’s Crac. Frédéric Back will also be a guest, and Roger will discuss his creative approach to the animation soundtrack in an onstage conversation with composer Michael Giacchino (The Incredibles, Ratatouille, Lost).

I’ve spoken with Monsieur Back before, at a previous Academy event (the 2005 Marc Davis Lecture on Animation), and he’s not only one of the few true artists who have worked in animation, but he’s also one of the kindest people I’ve even met. I’ve also briefly met Michael Giacchino, and he’s another genuinely nice guy, in addition to being super talented. I wasn’t aware of Normand Roger before this program, so I look forward to learning some insights. I’ll probably blog about this after the fact, probably after SIGGRAPH is over, so if you can’t make it I’ll try to give a gist of the evening.

Oh, and program is presented in conjunction with the opening night of the exhibition “Frédéric Back: A Life’s Drawings” on display in the lobby of the Linwood Dunn Theater. If you haven’t seen Back’s beautiful, gentle animation drawings personally, you’re really in for a treat.

2 Responses to “Normand Roger and the Animated Soundtrack at the Academy”

  1. Alonso Says:

    So what did Normand Roger say? I recently read Secrets of Oscar-Winning Animation ( and Normand Roger was the composer of a good number of the shorts reviewed.

    SO MUCH of a visual film experience is made up of the music. The music tells you how to feel, kind of leads you around by the nose. In a way it reminds me of that film theory example of a man with a neutral expression and then a cut to either a bowl of soup, or a child, or a grave, and how the audience assigned emotions to the man based on the image that followed. The soundtrack is like that but even stronger, coloring how we perceive what we are seeing.

    I wonder if there’s anything that the composer uses when thinking about what they’re trying to get the audience to feel (maybe timing and intensity) that the basic theories and application would translate across to our field.

  2. Nigel Humphreys Says:

    Does anyone know if there is a CD album of Norman’s work?


    Nigel Humphreys
    Creative Director
    Sculptoria Studio

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The animation and animation-related musings of Kevin Koch