Alumni

Filmmaker lends his talents for Discovery Channel’s Shark Week

By Brittany Slaughter, October 31, 2019

Kody McCormick (’15), an adventure filmmaker and entrepreneur from Chicago, lives by a simple statement: “Once you believe your story matters, you start living beyond your limit.”

In his case, that even includes swimming with sharks.

Kody, along with his brother, Kyler, were recently featured in a commercial for Southwest Airlines, which sent them to Nassau, Bahamas, in July to go behind the scenes of the filming of Discovery Channel’s Shark Week. The brothers swam with sharks in Stuart’s Cove with a trained crew and spent the rest of their time exploring Nassau’s unique landmarks.

“Diving with sharks was a very surreal experience,” Kody said. “You just float on the water and try not to move much or splash around because that attracts the sharks and that could end up in a shark bite. … There were some moments of fear for sure.”

Kody and Kyler are the founders and producers of the cinematic storytelling company The Outbound Life, which specializes in travel, tourism, and outdoor industries, servicing clients such as Southwest Airlines, Hilton, Camping World, and Vail Resorts.

When they don’t have cameras in their hands, the brothers enjoy sharing about their filmmaking ventures during presentations at high schools and colleges across the country. Their inspirational talks encourage young people to live “a life of passion, intentionality, and purpose.”

“Beyond storytelling through film and photo, we feel we have much more to share to a younger generation as we had to overcome many hurdles to get here,” Kody said.

Just like many of their own filming adventures, overcoming fear is often a theme in their talks, especially when it comes to the challenge of graduating and landing a job.

“Fear really limits us,” Kody said. “It puts a veil on us that we end up not being our true ourselves. Once you can push past that, once you believe that your story matters, you’re really going to go after it in a new way and take whatever life throws at you.”

Part of their message is that failure leads to strength. In that spirit, they created an “anti-highlight reel,” a compilation of failures throughout their work experience.

“So many people are putting out on social media their beautiful fantasy life and everything’s perfect,” Kody said. “We believe there is so much more to the story that we want to share.”

Kody earned his business entrepreneurship degree online with Liberty.

“Taking online courses allowed me to build my business while getting my degree,” he said.

View the McCormicks’ videos, including a TEDx Talk, on YouTube and TheOutboundLife.com

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