H.B. Thal

Los Angeles based composer

Cat's Outta the Bag

Over the past year since I've graduated from UCLA I've been working on various project. I haven't been able to share much as these projects are still getting final touches- or doing the festival circuits. One of these projects is a short film called "Cats Outta the Bag" which has WON Best Comedic Short at the IFS Festival and has received several nominations for the LA Live Film Festival (see poster below). On May 10th we get to watch the film at the Grove Theatre in Los Angeles. 



I have to say that being in LA and out of school has made me realize how hard it can be to keep moving. This moment of getting to see a film I worked on have its moment in the spotlight is really rewarding. You have to savor these moments when you're on that uphill climb. Thank you to the team at Red Jasper for allowing me to be apart of this project! 


1 year since Character Studies

Today marks one year since I released my "Character Studies EP". That EP was a project created to build my creativity, write quickly, and learn how to mix my own songs. I'm still very proud of that project, but when I go back and listen, I'm happy that I know so much more now than I did then and would do a lot of things differently.

I wanted to share what I've been up to since that release. 

As seen in my former blog post, I finished up all my classes at UCLA

Around April I started working on a 10 Episode Web Series called, "Meet Carole" that should be releasing very soon! That project was such an amazing step forward for me and having to do an episode a week really challenged me and taught me a lot. 

In July-ish I did the music for a short called, "Roommates" by my good friends Adam and Chelsea that will also be released soon. 

Lastly I just finished working on a short called, "Cat's outta the Bag" that is being finished up by the sound designer as we speak (or as I type...you get it) 

I've been so excited and grateful to work on these projects- each one a completely different experience and collaboration. I'm currently working on a whole album of songs to be able to showcase myself as a songwriter. I'm really excited to be able to share all these projects with everyone as they are released

Stay tuned



Goodbye UCLA

It has officially been two years since I moved to Los Angeles to do the Film Scoring program at UCLA. Last week I attended graduation and it is pretty surreal to think that my time at UCLA has come and gone. This program has been so much more than I expected and I genuinely feel equipped to begin building a career as a media composer. I came to LA with a degree in Voice; while the subjects aren't unrelated I felt extremely intimidated. For the past two months I've been writing the music for a web series (post on that later) and it has been so rewarding to know what I'm doing. Two years ago I would have felt completely clueless as to where to even begin. I've done many projects in this program that, when assigned, all I thought was, "what the hell am I doing here?". (see video below for example) To come to the other side of this experience and know that I was able to accomplish the tasks at hands, and experience so much growth as a musician and as a person makes this whole thing a beautiful blimp on what I hope to be a long career as a film composer. 

Onward and upward

Lets do this.

Here is the video clip of my final assignment in my conducting class- the last class where I got to work with musicians. 



"A Watched Pot Never Boils"

9am..."Alright time to check my email", she thinks. The ads roll in... Searches for that one name... Heart beats faster and faster... Nothing. 

 9:15... "Maybe now", she humors herself. *phone vibrates... Quick catch of breath... Just another Amazon ad... Time to make coffee. 

 9:25... Coffee is done; takes a sip and a deep breath... With a friendly caffeine jolt... "This is it", she delusions forward. Picks up phone, heart now awake and pounding... Nothing. *visualizes herself throwing phone against wall*... takes another sip of coffee

 The hours drag on until about 4pm where she thinks, "here's to tomorrow”.

 I could write the most boring book in the world that covers the last month of my life in this narrative. Of course it would maybe be a bit more interesting as I attempt to tell amusing stories of the moments in between checking emails where I, you know, work, do homework, write music... 

 Being a person who prides herself on grabbing the bull by the horns and achieving the goals set out before me, waiting for someone else to give you a chance is infuriating. I think to myself, "gosh I hate something so important to me being in someone else's hands". This reveals how much I think things are always in my control.

 In this experience I am learning that some goals aren't only up to you to accomplish. In fact many require a series of people who want to help, encourage, and cooperate. Sometimes that doesn't happen and that doesn't mean you failed, it means life isn't based off of your fantasies and it's probably better that way. When I really think about my experiences in life so far, I realize that my daydreams keep me excited, but hindsight is what is truly beautiful. Hindsight is what teaches me to persevere, that the real life outcome is always different and full of actual tangible memories and emotions that really taught me something. I'm looking forward to this experience being hindsight. 


Brb gotta check my email. 




Things I learned from Bieber

In March of 2016 I released “The Bieber Project”- a collaborative work reinventing and arranging three songs off of the 2015 album release “Purpose”. The idea for this project was conceived within days of the November release as I fell deeper and deeper in love with the album. The difficult aspect in pursuing your creative ideas is to bring something from conception to reality. You need the people, money, time, talent; it’s all pretty daunting. In a city like LA it’s pretty easy to find the people (Ironically everyone, with the exception of Ben Dalton and Katie Grosskopf, was from PHX). For those of you with project swirling around in your brains all day like me, here are a couple things I learned from bringing this project to fruition.



1.     Don’t be afraid to ask. To bring projects to fruition you have to put out a lot of asking; you have to be willing to let go of all your pride and ask others to be generous. I grew up going on trips with church throughout all my teenage years so in some ways, I have lots of experience with asking and seeing people be generous for no reason BUT, this was the first time that I was asking for no ‘greater purpose’ than my own creativity. I was immediately embarrassed by my GoFundMe and considered taking it down immediately, but then people gave. One of the messages I got said, “’Anonymous’ tried to explain what this is, not sure I get it but If you and Caleb are doing something I’m sure it will be great.” I think it took about 3 weeks for the project to be fully funded. If you want a high quality project, you need a budget- there’s no way around it.


2.     Respect those around you. I firmly believe collaboration is the only way to create something wonderful. Going into a project thinking two minds are greater than one is a must. Perspective from people who are honest and who you trust is so important because after a while you become too close and start to lose it. Unfortunately, we cannot all be single creative geniuses. The people who create great art are the people who don’t have a problem acknowledging that. The people who’s project get created are those who don’t have a problem acknowledging that. I’m so thankful for Ben, Micah, Jon, Katie and Janie for collaborating with me and for being honest people that I can trust.


3.     Get Organized. This is a lesson I’m continually learning as I work on school projects and the film scoring industry. I thought I was a pretty put together person but the truth is that it takes hyper organization to accomplish your goals. Someday we all hope to have the privilege of having the vision and letting someone else do the dirty work, in the meantime it's going to be you that has to carry the weight. The two days we spent playing music together was magical. Taking my bed apart and finding a place to put everything in my 500 square foot studio apartment wasn’t fun. Grocery shopping, cooking, sticking to the budget, putting together a timetable, those things are all just as important. I tried to be as organized as possible for this project and the truth is, it still wasn’t enough. The good news is there’s room for improvement in the next one.



Go make art. 



Watch the Rest of "The Bieber Project" under "Projects" tab. 



1 year ago today my husband Caleb and I moved to Los Angeles. So far it has been a very strange mix of feeling fresh off the boat, yet more at home than we've ever felt. The credit for our quick adapting goes to Soma (our church) for embracing us as family from day 1.

There is so much happening all the time in LA. It was difficult to get used to not being able to go to every event, concert, and social outing at first because there is just too much happening to be able to do it all. I thought I would share some of my LA highlights for year one. 

5. Celeb sitings- because let's face it, no matter what that is fun. Favorites have been Jerry Seinfeld, Reese Witherspoon, Ian Somerhalder, Ellen Degeneres (on her show)and Sam Jaeger.

4. Star Wars- just the release of this movie was a highlight of my first year in LA and getting to see it with Ali Lowndes (friendship highlight) who worked on the film was very special.

3. Studios- every couple weeks in the 3 quarters I've been at UCLA we get to go to the recording studio. We use players who have played on some of the best scores ever. Being in real studios with such incredible players has been such an treat. I look forward to getting to do much more down the road. 

2. Star Trek Live with Score- early on in our arrival I got to attend this event that included a Q&A with Michael Giacchino and a little encore medley from "Inside Out". It was a night I'll never forget.

1. Lunch at Bad Robot- Thanks to one of my bests, I had the privilege of going to my favorite production house for lunch and sharing the meal with the Music Supervisor, Charles Scott. The whole place was more inspiring than I could have ever imagined. As many of you know, my appreciation for the work that has come out of Bad Robot is extremely deep rooted and it was an incredibly fulfilling moment.

A big adjustment to life as an artist in LA, is embracing myself as an artist. Why does it feel like someone needs to give us permission in order to actually be ok with calling yourself that? Maybe it is just me. Being in a city where there are so many self-proclaimed artists has actually been so wonderful. There are so many ideas all around us just waiting to be fleshed out and opportunities to collaborate. Because many people living in LA have sacrificed being close to family and living a much more comfortable suburban life to pursue something they are passionate about it has been really easy to relate and bond with so many people.  

Here is to year number 2!


In the future this space is going to be used much more to talk composing. I would love to open up the dialogue of being a woman in this industry, and valuable things I learn on this journey. I wanted to get one "journal entry" in before I dive into all the music stuff. Thanks for reading.