Mark Ricci is an actor and comedian who plays Peter Parker on Six Side Studios’ ‘Spider-Man (Fan film)’ YouTube series, which has garnered over 60 million views. He’s also a producer on the Six Side Studios YouTube channel, which has over 100 million views and 100,000 subscribers. He is a series lead on Mattel’s animated ‘Fireman Sam’ series and the film “Fireman Sam: Set for Action!” which grossed $2 million overseas. And earlier this year, he appeared on the Discovery ID show ‘If I Should Die.’ On Tuesday, June 9th, Amazon Prime will premiere Mark Ricci’s first comedy special, ‘Mark Ricci: The Teenage Special,’ which will make him the youngest comedian to have a full-length standup special. We caught up with Mark to talk about his early beginnings, teenage struggles in today’s social media climate, his Amazon Prime special, and more.
You are the founder of your own YouTube channel entitled the ‘Movie Man Mark.’ Can you share with us what inspired you to create this platform in the first place?
Even before starting my first YouTube channel 10 years ago, I had the passion of making content. My dad let me use a point-and-shoot camera when I was really young and I would make skits outside with my friends that usually involved crazy stuff like gold robbers and aliens. I think it mostly was an excuse to create fight scenes. But the camera was so cheap that it didn’t even feature video with sound, so I had to audio-dub the voices in later! Not the most ideal situation for content creation. So when I eventually joined YouTube, it was just a no-brainer. The reason I didn’t do it right away was because I was scared to show my face online. My parents and neighbors said I had to keep my identity private to be safe. So the first 6 months of my first channel, I used a new camera, but it was the opposite of my early days of video-making. I filmed whatever was in front of me, and you only heard my voice.
How has it helped you land gigs and projects?
I don’t believe YouTube has had anything to do with the gigs I’ve landed, except for one. Last year, I did a web series called, “Smashalot!” which was a spin-off of an old kids game show, “Splatalot!” I was on the original show in 2013, but they told me that they brought me back for the spin-off is because I made a video exploring the outdoor set 5 years after it became abandoned. It may or may not have been considered trespassing, but they didn’t seem to care because it got over 100,000 views. Other than that though, most casting directors usually cast the right person for the gig and don’t look at social media. I don’t have a problem with this because I like working for jobs!
You are also a producer on the Six Side Studios channel and can be seen playing Peter Parker. Is there a backstory on how this opportunity presented itself?
My association with Six Side Studios and its founder Cameron Dodd feels like somewhat of a destined partnership. I found his channel in 2015 before it was given the name it has today. I thought his web movies had a charming and homemade feel, and I found it hilarious when, in his behind the scenes videos, some of the 13-year-old cast members were talking about negotiating for larger salaries. I also noticed billboards and local shops in the background of his movies had the same area code as my hometown, so I figured we lived somewhat close. About two months after I subscribed, he put out a casting call looking for new talent. I submitted and before I knew it, I was suiting up in skin-tight red-and-blue spandex playing a character I adored since childhood. Cameron and I have since become best friends. We talk on a daily basis. And can’t wait to get back to filming our fifth installment of our Spider-Man Saga as soon as it’s safe to do so. I’ve also been co-producing a new original comedic web series with him called “Juice Boyz” about young rappers trying to make it in Toronto. I think we’ll be working with each other for many years to come.
You also have your ‘The Teenage Special,’ which is set to premiere on Amazon Prime in the US/UK soon and will focus on teenage struggles in high school. In today’s climate, why do you feel it is important to touch on these issues?
I think going through puberty and growing up has always been challenging, but especially in today’s climate. With social media having such a strong presence in kids’ lives, you have to really have your head screwed on straight to not fall into temptation, and to stay true to yourself. Fortunately, mistakes are a part of life, and making them are okay. Some teenagers can only learn from mistakes when they make them themselves, and learning will make you become a better adult. As a teenager, it’s important to try new things and have a blast. If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space. That’s the underlying message of the special.
Will, there be a sequel to this special?
I have some crazy stories left to tell that couldn’t make it into the first one because of time. I would love to do another one, but I want to spend the next couple of years growing my acting career first. The grind continues!
You will be featured in the Season finale of ‘If I Should Die.’ How familiar were you with the show before being cast in the series?
I had a small role in ‘If I Should Die,’ but I was happy to do it because it’s the same network (Discovery ID) as previous shows I’ve done, ‘Fear Thy Neighbor’ and ‘Web of Lies.’ Those two shows were also true crime shows, so I was familiar with the style at that point, and I usually meet great people on set that I work with later on other projects. My teacher in the opening skit of my special (Steve Kerr) played a detective on ‘Web of Lies’ and that’s how I met him!
Has the COVID-19 pandemic allowed you to create some other programs that you might be releasing later this year?
I wrote a pilot for the first time. It’s a comedic series with a bit of action that I wouldn’t want to give too much information on yet. If I could get it on the air, it would be amazing.
Is there any advice that you would like to share with inspiring actors and comedians?
I almost feel too young in my own career to give valuable advice, but what I would say, from what I’ve learned so far, is that you have to just keep playing the game. No one’s ever won the game by forfeiting. You might still lose the game in the end, but you’ll never know until the game is over. So keep playing.
You are involved with so many exciting projects. If you were to bring on an intern, once it’s safe, what are some characteristics that you might look for?
I’ve never thought of doing that, but I would look for the same characteristics I look for in an agent or manager or publicist. I’d look for a real go-getter. Someone who has an insane hunger for success, even if they’ve found it already. It’s usually very easy to tell if someone has that characteristic just by talking to them for a good ten minutes.
Originally posted on The Hype Magazine.