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  • Writer's pictureFifth Street

Illinois native settled in film industry

Updated: Apr 11, 2023

Have you ever watched a blockbuster movie and thought, “How are those made?” Or maybe that question was taken a step further: “How can I make one of those movies?” Today, Thom Newell (BA '09) brings us into the world of filmmaking and shares his experience within the film industry.

Newell is a filmmaker who loves the art of storytelling. Whether it’s directing, shooting or editing, Newell has done it all.

Newell is an Indiana native who studied at Anderson University, and his passion for storytelling took him across the country. Newell says, “When I came to L.A., I met with some people who were introduced to me by AU professors. I met this guy named Chris Harding, who I owe my career to. We’re still great friends today.”

Harding was a producer who helped Newell break into the L.A. filmmaking scene. Newell reminisces on the early days of working for free on the weekends, shooting small videos.

“The skills I learned at AU helped me when I was working as a free grip on set. They liked me so much that I was asked to stay on as an intern at the company Chris worked at, Snoot Films. My first film I got to work on was an invasion thriller called ‘You're Next’.”

Newell has learned a lot since working for free on the weekends. He’s gone on to work as a visualization editor on major motion pictures, such as "Godzilla vs. Kong," "Godzilla: King of the Monsters" and "Black Widow."

Although he’s done a lot of editing work. Newell aspires to be a director one day. He states, “Directing is the ultimate end goal. If I direct a feature and find out I’m terrible at it, that’s okay.”

During the COVID-19 lockdown, Newell had space to direct his own work, which he is glad to see come to life. He filmed and directed two short films, "Cursed Beer Glass" and "Drone Shot," with his wife producing and his father-in-law starring alongside Newell.

Newell also shares fond memories about his time at AU, specifically being a part of Avanti Boosters and living in Dunn Hall. “My second year, I ran for a Booster’s officer and applied to be an R.A. I didn’t get the position but going after it helped me involve myself in extracurricular activities more.”

Overall, Newell has found his time in L.A. to be rewarding, and even in difficult situations, he persevered to continue storytelling. Visit his work at

Mason Fridley is a senior from Anderson, Indiana, majoring in public relations with a concentration in social media. Mason is an associate with Fifth Street Communications®, a student-run public relations agency at Anderson University.


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