McKenzie Barney: Beyond the Comfort Zone

1900075_10201671542181880_386425277_nSometimes an opportunity comes up that might seem difficult or uncomfortable at the time, but just beyond that discomfort or hard work lies a dream come true—at least that’s what McKenzie Barney has found. It took relentless prodding by her good friend and fellow filmmaker Filipe DeAndrade to get her to apply for the Colorado Backcountry Adventure Film School, but it was that step outside her comfort zone that started her down the road to filming her lifelong personal hero: Mia Hamm.

Her idol since childhood, Mia Hamm was part of the inspiration that led Barney to play soccer collegiately at an NCAA Division 1 school. But it was Barney’s film cred that got her filming Hamm for The Game 365, a sports series focusing on athletes’ lives twice a month for MSG Network and nationally on Fox Sports Net. “The show host, former New York Yankee Fran Healy, visits celebrated athletes on their own turf, engaging legends in off-the-cuff, personality-revealing conversations,” Barney says.

“Being able to shoot the show on Mia, as well as my other idols growing up—Kristine Lilly and Tisha Venturini-Hoch, who were both also on the 1999 World Cup team—was the most gratifying, humbling experience of my professional career,” she says. “Every step of the way- from calling up her agent to pitch the show idea to her, to traveling to Vegas and meeting her before the day we were set to shoot, to hearing her tell her stories in her interviews, to me and two other cameramen shooting her interacting with young girls at a camp the three coach, and finally being a part of the entire production of the show was a dream come true.”

For Barney, working with Mia Hamm was a moment of realization that she was exactly where she wanted to be. “That’s how you know that you’re in the right field and truly enjoying what you do every day,” she says. “When you can have experiences like that that will fuel you for a lifetime. Storytelling is a beautiful thing, and I’m so thankful I was able to be a part of this production on my childhood hero.”

McKenzie Barney Shooting in Iceland with Chad CopelandAs a production manager for RGTV, Barney does it all—writing, shooting, editing and producing—and is currently working on two different television shows, one documentary series, and one playoff video for the New York Rangers. And the one thing she’s learned from all her adventure film experience? “Live in the urgency of now. Defy the temptation of comfort, and get out there. If you have a crazy idea, go after it. This life is too short to pass up on any epic opportunities. I am where I am today, in NYC, working for an awesome production company, because I took an uncomfortable risk, and applied to go to AFS.”

You can check out more of her work at