This cop made a viral video of Syrian refugees playing in the snow, and it kicked off a second career

Key Points
  • David McNab has been filming videos of his family and his hobbies, and after one went viral he decided to license them on video platform Rumble.
  • He's earned about nearly $20,000 from his home videos in 18 months, which have been licensed by media outlets and advertisers.
David McNabb turned his love for animal videos into a second income.
Courtesy of David McNabb

David McNab turned his penchant for filming home videos into a budding second career.

The cop, who has been with Canada's Peterborough County police force for almost 30 years, has made $25,000 Canadian dollars (about $19,600), in just 18 months by uploading and licensing home videos on video platform Rumble. Thanks to his video work, he plans to retire a couple years early in November.

"I look at the world differently now," he said. "Anything that looks remotely interesting, I think how would that be a good video."

McNab got a GoPro camera in the summer 2013, and started filming his family on vacation for friends. At first he only made "pennies."

"I got a camera with no experience," he said. "I just started videos putting together for fun with our family."

When one of his videos of Syrian child refugees playing in the snow for the first time went viral, he started to realize he could make real money licensing content. McNab posted the snow video to "contradict the fear and anxiety people were feeling at the time" about refugees, and didn't monetize it on YouTube. However, people started going to older videos on his account, which gave him more views overall.

The second time he struck viral gold was when he posted a video of a World War II veteran playing with a lion cub in February 2016. When other people started using his clip without permission, he reached out to video platform Rumble, which helps creators license their clips to publishers and advertisers. the veteran lion cub video ended up getting two million views.

Currently, McNab posts videos around a minute long twice a day because "it's hard to keep people engaged for that long of a time." He'll post videos from his every day life, including scuba diving trips on vacation, videos of homeless dogs being airlifted, or taking care of hurt animals that his wife or the police department have discovered. Two of his videos were used for a bank advertisement in the U.K., for which he was paid $6,500.

Most of McNab's videos successful are about one of the internet's favorite subjects, animals. His family members are "animal nuts" — he said his wife is a veterinarian and his kids are environmental activists. One of his most popular videos is a 37-second clip of a gopher sniffing his camera. The critter has earned about $670 to date.

"Keep a camera with you at all times and record everything," he said.

Correction: This story has been updated to reflect McNab does not shoot criminal activity from his work as a police officer. His last name is also McNab not McNabb.