Creative Mind Podcast Episode 13: Fred Newman, Master Sound Effects Artist

Snap. Wham. Zoink. These mouth sounds are the basis for sound effects and sound design, and are just one of the tools that sound artist Fred Newman uses to create an auditory journey.

What does that sound like in your head? What do you visualize when you hear these words said out loud?Onomatopoeia if you want to get technical about these mouth sounds, are the tools that sound artist Fred Newman uses to take audiences on an auditory journey, and are real theater of the mind, for animations and films. 

With every zip, zap and scrunch, Fred contorts his face and vocal chords, personifying each sound that he makes. He is a master of this. Throughout his long career as an actor, voice actor, composer, comedian, musician, and singer, Fred has created the voice or sounds of some of our most loved and watched characters.

Sounds Familiar

Fred was the voices for both the furry little Mogwai and the slimy green monsters in the 80’s horror flick Gremlins. He was the voice of Skeeter, among others in the long running cartoon franchise Doug. For a more nostalgic generation, he served as the sound effects maestro for the old-time radio homage Prairie Home Companion. The sound scape is Fred Newman’s world.

In this episode of Creative Mind, Fred walks us through the concept of sound, why each crinkle and snort leaves a lasting impression on us. How simple, but immediately recognizable sounds, like the trumpet-like blast from an elephant, lock into our consciousness and forever become associated with a feeling. It is these feelings that he, and all sound designers and composers are trying to elicit from the listener or viewer all the time. They become layers in a larger audio landscape. And each snort and swish Fred creates out of thin air is a story in and of itself. A must hear, for anyone interested in how sound can guide your thinking and tell a unique story.

After you listen head over to our YouTube page to see Fred on stage and in action.

For more insights into the world of music, film scores, and sound design check out previous Creative mind episodes with the Director of the School of Music Production & Sound Design for Visual Media, Brad Hughes and film composer Gunnard Doboze.


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