Class of 2018
Film & Television
New York University – Tisch School of the Arts
“My mentor and friend, Joe Schulte (1934-2016), was fond of saying, ‘Every story contains truth. It’s our responsibility to convey that truth.”
Tom Fields is a film and television student at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts where he concentrates in writing for animation. Inspired by the theater department of St. Louis University High School, Tom embraced the Jesuit ideal of becoming “a man for others” while acquiring a love for storytelling and collaboration. The son of a Chinese immigrant and a disabled Navy veteran, Tom learned early what it means to be “a global citizen” and discovered the opportunities that come with uncompromising hard work.
A distant goal, NYU Tisch became Tom’s “dream school” early in his college search process. Upon admission to NYU some months later, Tom and his family had to acknowledge the hard truth that they could never make his dream a reality without reaching out for help. Then one day, his mother walked into ScholarShop.
With the help of Thurman Young, the Foundation’s director of student accounts, Tom put together the financial support he needed and attended NYU Film School. He learned how to live in Greenwich Village and how to cut costs where possible.
Tom has directed both animated and live-action student films. His critically acclaimed short, Missed Perspectives, made the semi-final round of the Dallas Sight of Sound Film Festival in 2016. After studying with Oscar winning professors in Manhattan for a year and a half, Tom spent a semester at the Czech National Film School in Prague, “the cradle of European film.” There, he directed and produced a project shot on 35mm film, a rare opportunity in this digital age.
Grounded in traditional filmmaking, Tom first identifies as a storyteller, hoping to pioneer new mediums in creative narrative. At the urging of a professor, Tom volunteered at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival, gaining the attention of Penrose Studios, a San Francisco based company specializing in virtual reality (VR) filmmaking. As the studio’s first production assistant the following summer, Tom earned a screen credit for Allumette, one of the world’s first and most respected VR films. In his second summer at Penrose, Tom became the studio’s spokesman and VR ambassador, introducing VR storytelling at international film festivals from Cannes to Hong Kong, from New York to Annecy, from Paris to Shanghai.
Tom’s Penrose experience has also given him the opportunity to work with industry veterans from Pixar, DreamWorks, and Industrial Light and Magic (of Star Wars fame). Spend fifteen minutes with this budding filmmaker and you too will become excited about developments in the animation industry, story development, concept art, and script coverage.
“Because of your generosity, I can focus on my craft. Because of your dedication, I can explore the world. Because of your support, I can do what I love. The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis has made all the difference in my life.”