Amy Jones-Timoney

By

College: Business and Economics

UK Alum Finds Success in the Film Industry

Published: May 14, 2013

 

Video by UK Public Relations and Marketing

 

For UK alum A.J. Hochhalter, simply attending the 2013 Sundance Film Festival was a thrill.  He helped compose the music for the documentary Blood Brother, a contender in the U.S. Documentary category.  

 

"I didn't expect for the film to even be in the Sundance because that's an honor in itself just to be entered," Hochhalter said. 

 

But as the ceremony began, his elation grew as Blood Brother won the Audience Award for U.S. Documentary.

 

"When it won that one first, honestly for me that one was more exciting because more people were voting, and I considered that as a better like-barometer of how the world was seeing this film and reacting to it," Hochhalter said.

 

But the accolades did not end there.  Blood Brother ended up winning the grand prize, which is the Grand Jury Award for the festival.

 

"It's still kind of unbelievable," Hochhalter said.  "It's exciting for me because the recent awards mean a lot of people will see it!"

 

The Louisville native composes film and commercial music from Listen Design Studio, the business he started in downtown Lexington after graduating from UK's Gatton College of Business and Economics with a marketing degree in 2010. 

 

"I earned a marketing degree because I thought ― you could be the best musician in the world or the best film composer, but if you don't understand the environment you are going to put yourself into then you're just going to stay in the basement being the best film composer that ever lived, and no one's going to hear about you." said Hochhalter.

 

Armed with a business background, he realized after college his passion rested with a hobby he started in high school.  As a student at Louisville Christian Academy, he would spend hours playing and recording music.

 

"I kind of grew up in a time where computers were coming out where you didn't have to go to a big studio," Hochhalter said.  "You could do it in your bedroom, so I always messed around with recording music."

 

But he says those who heard his recordings lamented that they sounded 
"too much like the movies, too intense."

 

During his time on campus, he remembered the comment that seemed like a negative back when he was in high school.

 

"I met people at UK who started nonprofits and worked on documentaries either at my church or in class, and they would always put some 'Pirates of the Caribbean' music in it, but then they could never use it," he said.   "They were looking for people to just take a crack at it, and I remembered back to high school when people told me my stuff sounded like a film. So, I decided to at least give it a try.  I picked it up and I really enjoyed it."

 

Hochhalter composed for free, just trying to get his name out there and developing a portfolio.

 

"I would ask people to let me write music for their movie trailers, and eventually I met the right people that kept calling back ― directors that ended up falling in love with my sound," he said. "By that time I had a pretty large portfolio of stuff I'd done so from there people could kind of hear my potential."

 

Hochhalter says his time at UK working on a business degree helped him put his best foot forward as he made connections in the film industry. 

 

"I felt very prepared and I knew what to expect, I knew the lingo," said Hochhalter. "If you're new to it, just to learn even what some of these words mean is tough, but if you have studied them you can jump right in and talk confidently with a producer who runs on more of a business brain because he's talking about scheduling and budgets and money and meetings."

 

All of those connections led him to the opportunity to work on Blood Brother, a documentary that captured a young American's experience working at an orphanage for children infected with HIV in India. From the beginning, the film was unique because the director and producer could not pay what other films pay because they wanted money from the documentary to go toward efforts in India.

 

 "As soon as I saw the film ― no matter if they wanted it for free ― I was going to say 'of course,' because it was moving, and I was just happy to have music in it," said Hochhalter.  "It was very much a community collaborative because there are three other people that donated their music writing, so we all just kind of put our talents together and got it done."

 

Beyond the award, he says the relationships he developed with those working on the film have already paved the way to future business.

 

"At the time I had no idea, but because of my work, it has turned into them calling me and saying, 'Hey, we have a big name client and we need music for this commercial.'" Hochhalter said.  "Because of our relationship, I've been the one they come to, so it's been good."

 

The husband and father of one doesn't plan on leaving Lexington for his career. 

 

"Lexington is the perfect place for what I am doing, but when I tell people what I do, they are surprised I live in Lexington. They think I should be in LA or in New York, but because of technology, it's easy to work from here," Hochhalter said.  "In the past few years, Lexington has changed and there's an artistic feel to it.  I have learned that this is the perfect place to be."

 

He hopes more documentary work is in his future, too.

 

"I like documentaries … because they're true stories and something inherently powerful when you know it's true, and the music is a little closer to the actual story." Hochhalter said. 

 

But fame and money are not what motivates this young composer. 

 

"There are a lot of people in the world that are oppressed or struggling and don't have the life or luxury that I have," Hochhalter said.  "I've been blessed with this ability to be able to help and use it as a tool and weapon to fight against these awful things that happen to people, so that's my underlying motivation."

 

 

To view other video stories about University of Kentucky alumni, watch the "see success." YouTube playlist below:

 

 

aj4uknowcover_success.jpgaj2.jpgaj1.jpg
February
 
1
Graduate Student Congress Meeting (February)
Mon
2
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Tue
3
K Crew Recruitment
Last Day to Drop a Course Without Appearing on Transcript
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Wed
4
K Crew Recruitment
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Undergraduate Research Information Session
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Thu
5
K Crew Recruitment
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Explore Blue
Off-Campus Student Services' Wildcat Apartment Hop #1
Panel Discussion: Historic Homes
Fri
6
K Crew Recruitment
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Sat
7
K Crew Recruitment
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Sun
8
K Crew Recruitment
Sex and Chocolate
Law School Prep Workshop
Mon
9
K Crew Recruitment
Healthy Relationships Workshop
How to Package Communication and Technical Skills on your Resume
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
2016 Distinguished Industry Lecture Series
Tue
10
K Crew Recruitment
Last Day to Receive 50% Refund
Pinterest Party #1
Off-Campus Student Association Information Session
Get Yourself Tested!
Showcase your Talents: Building a Strong Portfolio
An Evening with Tatyana Ali and Amir Windom: Progression Towards Success
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
How to Survive a Plague
Wed
11
K Crew Recruitment
Coffee & Canvases
Off-Campus Student Association Information Session
Study Abroad in Berlin!
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Thu
12
K Crew Recruitment
Explore Blue
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Fri
13
K Crew Recruitment
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Workshop: The Artist Statement
Sat
14
K Crew Recruitment
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Sun
15
K Crew Recruitment
See ICT
Patterson School Guest Speaker Series
Mon
16
K Crew Recruitment
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
See ICT
UK Women's Forum February Board Meeting
Tue
17
K Crew Recruitment
Food For Thought
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Wed
18
Undergraduate Research Information Session
Soup & Substance: Real Talk, Real Issues, & Real People Series
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Thu
19
PharmD Interviews
Explore Blue
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Off-Campus Student Services' Wildcat Apartment Hop #2
SAB Underground Formal
Fri
20
PharmD Interviews
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Sat
21
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Sun
22
Undergraduate Research Information Session
Mon
23
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Tue
24
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
UK Elder Care Lunch & Learn - Don't Blame It On Aging
Ravi Zacharias at Memorial Coliseum
Wed
25
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Thu
26
Explore Blue
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Dimensions of Political Ecology Conference
Eday Talk by Georgetown Toyota President Wil James
Do What You Are: Connecting Personalities w/ Profession
Off- Campus Student Services' Wildcat Apartment Hop #3
Concert in the Museum: Central Music Academy
Fri
27
Dimensions of Political Ecology Conference
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
UK E-Day
Sat
28
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
DanceBlue Rave Hour
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Sun
29
Monday through Friday - Midterm Grading window is open. The mid-term grading window will close at midnight on March 11.
Monday through Wednesday - Students are prohibited from changing academic major
Bodies Of Evidence: Provocations: A Transnational Feminist History Project
Mon
 
 
 
 
 
Feb 09
Healthy Relationships Workshop 02/09/2016

Tue, 02/09/2016

Repeats every day on January, February, March, April every Sunday and every Tuesday and every Wednesday and every Thursday and every Friday and every Saturday until Sun Apr 03 2016 .
Wed, 02/10/2016

Repeats every day on January, February, March, April every Sunday and every Tuesday and every Wednesday and every Thursday and every Friday and every Saturday until Mon Apr 04 2016 .
Wed, 02/10/2016

Reset Page