Whitney O’Steen is a production assistant for ESPN. She helps create the opening video for Monday Night Football each week, along with a three-man team from the production company Victory Pictures.
Her work is seen by millions, and O’Steen takes great pride in the finished product.
“When viewers are able to watch something we’ve created and feel the raw emotion of the piece — whether it’s exciting, uplifting, inspiring, heartfelt — they have an instant adrenaline rush. TV is about the viewers, so any time you can get them to connect, it’s pretty powerful.”
She was especially excited for this week’s assignment as she travelled to her hometown of Jacksonville, Fla., for the Chargers-Jaguars game.
O’Steen graduated from The Bolles School in Jacksonville before attending Samford University, where she received her degree in 3½ years.
Selected for an International Radio and Television Society (IRTS) internship in New York City, O’Steen made some important contacts who helped her secure an interview with ESPN. Landing a job here in March 2008 was a dream come true.
“I would always tell my dad I wish I could play football. He would just laugh and tell me that someday I could interview [players] instead. It’s funny how things work out. I’m not playing, but I’m as close as I can get,” she said.
Throughout the season, O’Steen reserves Thursdays and Fridays each week for gathering current season highlights and historical video of the participating teams to incorporate into the open.
She also attends production meetings. Most of the themed opens also include original video that is shot in the MNF host city on Saturdays.
O’Steen works at these shoots and then edits during the weekend.
By Monday morning, the video is nearly complete with just the audio left to be tweaked. Then the planning starts for the next open in the week ahead.
Over the course of four months, the schedule might seem grueling but, no stranger to hard work, O’Steen wouldn’t have it any other way.
“That is why I love it!”