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Featured Alum: Brian Leitten Class of 2001



A career in E-media means travel and awards for Brian Leitten, 01.

During his senior year in E-Media, Brian interned at MTV, where he was hired upon graduating. 

Eventually he ended up as a producer/director on the MTV series MADE, a show that follows teenagers as they attempt to achieve goals in their chosen athletic or artistic fields. “I filmed all over the country for MADE,” he said, “I had to kayak, hike and backpack while filming in the Alaskan wilderness.”

Brian has always been interested in the outdoors.  He became a Boy Scout in first grade and received the highest honor of Eagle Scout his senior year.

“I feel like spending time in nature can really recharge the creative juices,” he said.

Over the next few years, he worked for a number of companies including Epic Records, Atlantic Records, Comedy Central and Fuse TV.

In 2011 he left MADE to start his own production company, Hyperion XIII Productions and later became the Director of Productions for Vevo, the world's leading all-premium music video and entertainment platform. 

Brian was the executive producer and director for The Last Wild Race, a documentary about the Wenger Patagonian Expedition Race in southern Chile.  “It was a ten day race across the wilderness, which was incredibly difficult to produce,” he said. The documentary aired on Fox Sports Network and won four awards on the international film circuit.

Brian currently serves as executive producer for the award winning Gold Rush Expedition Race Documentary Series.  The project, which began in 2012, is the joint effort of E-Media's Professor Kevin Burke and his Media Topics class along with other tv and film professionals. 

The project has received the support of UC Forward, an interdisciplinary collaboration which emphasizes experiential learning.  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.  For more information on the Gold Rush Documentary, please click here.

While studying at CCM, it was the TV Studio Production class that helped him find his place in E-Media.

“It was a great experience getting to cover each position in the studio,” he said. “That’s where I really figured out I didn’t want to be in front of the camera, I wanted to be the one in the control room calling the shots.”

Brian explained that E-Media also prepared him to work with diverse groups of people.

“There were so many different types of personalities in the E-Media major,” he said, “The better you are at dealing with all kinds of personalities the more successful you will become.”

Brian offers two pieces of advise for current E-Media students.  The first is that media is a tough business.

“You have to learn how to take constructive criticism,” he said, “even if sometimes it’s not given in a constructive manner.”

His second piece of advice is to avoid being overly specialized.

“The more skills you acquire while in college will directly relate to your success,” he said.

In June, Brian was the recipient of the 2014 Jeffrey Hurwitz Young Alumni Outstanding Achievement Award.  This award is given to a UC graduate, 35 years of age or younger, who has acheived significant professional achievement in his or her field and who continues to serve and be involved with UC and the community.  This award is in honor and memory of Jeffrey Hurwitz, BBA '72, MBA '73, former president of the UC Alumni Association's Board of Governors.  The honorees were recognized at the 2014 UC Distinguished Alumni Celebration at the Cincinnati Hyatt Regency on June 12.