Emily Leitner, C’12

Producer at NFL Films

Moorestown, NJ

Cinema Studies Major

I was a Cinema Studies major, and I took as many video production classes as I could. In one, instead of each person individually coming up with a final project, we all pitched ideas and then everyone got behind one. That was a cool experience.

During my first week here at NFL Films, knowing what Battleship Potemkin was and being able to engage in a conversation about Eisenstein was a big plus for me.

The class that led me to that major was Mythology and the Movies, which was cross-listed with Anthropology and held in the Penn Museum. And my Film History to 1945 class with Meta Mazaj introduced me to a lot of silent movies. Actually, during my first week at NFL Films, knowing what Battleship Potemkin was and being able to engage in a conversation about Eisenstein was a big plus for me.

Being on the lacrosse team was pretty formative for me. My teammates were often my subjects, because I was always around them. It was probably very annoying to them, but they were great. I also did some video editing and capturing for the DP.

I started at NFL Films the fall after I graduated. I started as an intern, then went to Seasonal Production Assistant, then went to NBC, then came back and was full-time Production Assistant, Associate Producer, Feature Producer and now Producer.

This past season, I was out directing for Hard Knocks in Season. I was in Indianapolis covering the Colts. A typical day might include getting in in the morning; confirming which players we planned to focus on in practice; getting their jerseys and mic-ing them up; prepping where our crews were going to shoot during practice; mapping out the team’s schedule for the other things we planned to cover besides practice, like pressers, any kind of extra interviews or off-the-field extra shoots. So it was mapping out the day as well as reacting to anything that changed.

We pulled off something that we’d never done before: producing a Hard Knocks in Season show that aired live each week. It’s cool to do something that’s never been done before within a company that’s been around as long as NFL Films. So figuring out a way to do that, and seeing new ideas that were brought to the table and people willing to work to find new ways and deal with the learning curve and the bumps of doing something new… That was very rewarding.

I’m a Giants fan, but I become a fan of whatever team I work with as well. It’s like you live and die with these teams when you’re working with them.

I’m continually learning hard lessons and that doesn’t stop. Recently I’ve realized the importance of work/life balance. Take your vacation days, take some time for you. Especially during the pandemic, while working remotely, it’s been important to acknowledge when work is over for the day.

My freshman year self would be blown away to know what I’m doing now. I think she’d be pumped and hoping that the Giants would be better than they than they are right now. Because I think she’d be really excited to work on a Giants Super Bowl film, and I’ve yet to do that. They won right before I came, they haven’t been back since… but we’ll see. — February 24, 2022 • Photo by Brooke Sietinsons