Hi Mark! How are you today?
I’m ready to take the Voyage. Not to New York, but the Voyage to this interview. I will be visiting New York at the end of the year though.
Oh, what for?
I don’t wanna say yet, in case it doesn’t happen. It’s one of those things. (laughs)
Well speaking of which, it seems you have a lot of ventures on your plate, between YouTube, your acting, and producing, etc. Is it important to you to diversify your portfolio?
Absolutely, and I wish I had more time in the day to learn even more skills because as a performer, you never know what you can use for a role. For example, I’ve become a lot more physical in my daily life because I started playing Spider-Man for Six Side Studios in 2015. I never cared about hitting the gym until then! I actually liked myself as skinny because it fit with the comedic roles I was doing at the time. But because I wanted to portray the character more and more accurately as the years went on, it became really important to me to transform my body.
I’m glad you brought that up because that was actually my next question. The series has received so many millions of views and has really become a staple in the Spidey fan film sub-genre on YouTube. Do you feel more connected to the character now than when you first started playing him?
I’ve progressively become so much more connected to the character, which I didn’t think would be possible, because I grew up with it. When relatives would visit the house, the first thing they’d see when they entered was 6 year old me in a Spider-Man costume flying down the stairwell. So it was a dream come true to get to portray the character, but over time I started to feel that Peter and myself were almost one. For one thing, I found myself acting and talking like my Peter in everyday life, it became a habit. I also usually write the Peter scenes in our Spidey films now because I know him so well. I know what he would say or do, and what he wouldn’t say or do, in any given scenario.
You also did 3 acting gigs on Discovery. What were they like to do?
Interesting, because unlike Spider-Man, I never watched true crime shows until I was in them. All I remember is being mortified as a kid when I saw a particular scene that takes place in a church in Criminal Minds. But it was great to get to dip my toes into that world of television, because it’s so beloved by middle-aged American women, and I was just fascinated by every story that was told in these shows, because they’re always so outlandish and you have a hard time believing that they’re real, especially Fear Thy Neighbor. They’re on what – season 8 of that? The amount of material they have of neighbors killing each other is disturbing.
And what was it like being the first teenager with a stand up special on Amazon Prime?
That was nuts, but I can’t say it was a surprise. The very inception of the special was based on the idea of reaching that goal. I came up with the idea on my 19th birthday because I woke up feeling existential. I couldn’t believe all I had was a year left of teenagehood. And I shot the special 2 days before my 20th birthday. Talk about cutting it close. It was surreal seeing my family and friends supporting me to the level that they did that night. That night was the best night of my life for a long time – that is until one night that happened just a couple months ago. It shares a connection with my special in a way, but I’ll leave it up to everyone to figure out what that means.
Intriguing! You also have some animated gigs under your belt. Is it harder to perform on camera or behind a microphone?
I do way more on-camera stuff so it might actually be harder behind a microphone right now! Not that I’m not good at it, but it’s rare that I do it! It’s such a blast when I do though. Being a series lead on Fireman Sam and getting my first animated movie out of that was such an honor. It’s a huge cultural phenomenon in some places around the world like the United Kingdom. And most recently, I did a Warner Bros. show called Super Wish! My role in Fireman Sam (Norman Price) is infamous for his mischief but my role in Super WIsh somehow manages to be even more mischievous! You’ll see when it drops!
Your Movie Man Mark channel has seen much growth this year with 12 million views and nearly 2 million watchtime hours so far. How do you find the right recipe for what viewers want to watch?
It’s funny, my videos have developed a formula, but I’m still trying to find the right recipe. What I mean by that is a formula to me is a general format that each video follows. A typical beginning, middle, and explosive end, in the simplest of terms. But a recipe to me is where it gets complicated. Occasionally you’ll have a video that goes viral because it has the right recipe. And you try to replicate it using the same formula, but if it doesn’t have the perfect combination of ingredients, (the right characters, the right level of excitement, the right thumbnail, the right title) then it’s not going to perform at the same level. So I have an idea of what viewers want at this point, it’s just a matter of trying to consistently deliver the proper recipe.
What does your future hold? Are you going to stay on YouTube or expand into bigger things?
As long as YouTube is nice to me, I’ll be nice to it. It’s been the best platform for me to date and I don’t plan on stopping, but perhaps the type of content will change. It’s changed many times already if you scroll down far enough on my channel. I feel besides acting and YouTube, a lot more writing and producing are in my future. I’ve really enjoyed wearing those hats for the Spider-Man films so I’d like to now do it for original films. I already have a couple of screenplays cooking.
You can follow Mark on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKanmMixVNgdrFHZaoTRTUg