A UC education can take you anywhere and everywhere, doing things you never imagined. Brian Leitten’s young career proves the power and real-world application of the UC experience, and demonstrates how alumni can integrate the next generation of creative minds into the journey.
An accomplished graduate of CCM's Division of Electronic Media, Leitten began his entertainment career with a five-year stint in the Music and Talent Department at MTV in New York working on music programming, development and events such as the VMAs, New Year’s Eve and the Movie Awards. From there he moved to producing and directing the MTV program MADE, ultimately winning an Emmy for his work. Many other projects followed, including establishing his own production company, Hyperion XIII, in 2011, and later becoming the Director of Productions for Vevo, the world’s leading all-premium music video and entertainment platform. He has also produced for Comedy Central and Fuse TV.
Leitten is the executive producer and director of a multi-award winning documentary called The Last Wild Race about an international expedition race in Chile. Expedition racing typically involves teams of four people competing in adventure sport disciplines including navigation, trekking, mountain biking, paddling and climbing to cover diverse outdoor terrain over a week or more. That experience led Leitten to propose to his college a groundbreaking video project about a similar event in California.
When the work was green-lit, 33 students from CCM E-Media, DAAP’s Graphic Communication Design and McMicken College of Arts & Sciences’ Communications and Anthropology programs teamed up with Leitten in the field and in the studio to help create the Gold Rush Expedition Race Documentary Series. The project received the support of UC Forward, an initiative in which students, faculty and sometimes alumni engage in interdisciplinary projects to enhance the learning experience in ways that typical classroom and lab work cannot. The 2012 Gold Rush documentary was recently awarded Best of Festival in the Faculty Video Competition at the 2014 Broadcast Education Association Festival of Media Arts.
During that same semester, Leitten also helped secure professional guest lecturers from across the film and TV industries to speak with E-Media students, either on location or via web conferencing, about the current state of art in the entertainment industry. And his contribution to UC hasn’t been limited to the Gold Rush Expedition Race project itself; Leitten has helped many of the participating students find jobs in the industry in New York and Los Angeles upon graduation.
In all, Leitten combines a stellar record of achievement in his field, an ongoing and active role in mentoring and guiding UC students who are following in his footsteps and the ability and desire to leverage his innovative passion and perspective to advance his craft and his university.