One of the stories he shared came directly from Alfred Hitchcock's granddaughter who lectured in one of his classes.
"Alfred Hitchcock only wore white shirts with black pants," Simonsen said, repeating her story. "When the family went on vacation, he sat on the beach still wearing his white shirt and black pants. After being convinced by his family to relax a little, Hitchcock bought a green shirt."
Another fun tidbit he shared was a story about the popular film Back to the Future.
"Back to the Future was almost named Spacemen from the Planet Pluto," Simonsen said.
According to Simonsen, it was Steven Spielberg, the film's producer, who convinced top executives to keep the original name.
Beyond sharing fun stories, Simonsen told the group about some of the personal experiences he's had as a student attending the school.
"I've had some amazing professors and have learned so much," Simonsen said. "I've had to take courses on producing, directing, editing, writing and sound editing. I've really enjoyed everything."
And he's been learning from the best. One of his favorite professors is Robert Zemeckis, director of films including Back to the Future and Forest Gump.
"Mr. Zemeckis has been a stellar professor," Simonsen said. "It's amazing to learn from the people who create such magic."
Simonsen is now nearing the completion of his education at USC and is currently working on his thesis, in which he's creating a comedic film.
"Comedy tends to be really hard to pull off because it either resonates or it doesn't," Simonsen said. "The script has to be funny, the actors have to be funny and the way it's put together has to be funny."
Upon graduation, Simonsen plans to send the film he created for his thesis to a variety of film festivals and see where it ends up.
As for advice to someone who wants to get into film making, Simonsen says it's possible if you just keep trying.
"A good idea will sell, you just need to have a good idea," he said. "It takes time, but a hot story will work its way up the chains if you're patient."