Filmmaker shoutout: Bryce McNabb
The pros aren't simply great storytellers; they are master problem-solvers as well
In my quest to learn the secrets of the self-made documentary filmmaker, I watch lots of YouTube. Entirely too much, in fact. This is a mixed blessing. Some of the videos I watch are beautifully shot but slight in content; others are funny and irreverent, but lacking practical insights; still others splice informational bits into what is otherwise an exercise in self-promotion.
Only a small handful of the YouTubers I watch are straightforwardly sublime.
Meet Bryce McNabb. McNabb is a filmmaker out of Atlanta, Georgia, who operates a criminally underwatched YouTube channel called McNabb Storytelling. Most of his content is focused on non-technical topics like story development, branding, and promotion. But McNabb occasionally tackles the technical aspects of the job, and this is where, in my opinion, he shines. McNabb’s pragmatic approach to filmmaking results in some insanely useful tips.
I recently watched two such McNabb videos and wanted to share them with my audience. In this first video, McNabb shares how he packs his entire filmmaking operation into two carry-on bags. This might not impress you. But if you’re organizationally impaired like me, I think you’ll view this with awe.
In the second video, McNabb throws open those carry-on bags and sets up an interview space inside his Las Vegas hotel room. There is nothing fancy in McNabb’s approach, but he extracts every ounce of utility from the limited gear on hand. Filmmaking, after all, is about getting the shot, not about looking good—or “professional”—while you’re getting it.
Your viewers, after all, will never see the beauty (or grittiness) of your sausage-making operation.
What are your tricks for traveling light and shooting even lighter? I’m always looking for ways to cut a few hundred grams from my traveling kit. Hit me.