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Rising Star Actor Mark Ricci On The Five Things You Need To Shine In The Entertainment Industry

“It ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward” from Rocky Balboa. I’ve had to tell myself this quote many, many times. The true tests in life are dealing with obstacles. They enjoy seeing you fail. You just have to brush it off like it’s nothing. That’s how winning is done.

As a part of my series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Mark Ricci.

Mark Ricci is an actor and comedian who plays Peter Parker on Six Side Studios’ “Spider-Man (fan film)” series, which has garnered over 100 million views. He’s also a producer on the Six Side Studios YouTube channel, which has over 100 million views and 200,000 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 he’s appeared on the Discovery ID shows “If I Should Die,” “Fear Thy Neighbor,” and “Web of Lies.” In 2020, Mark’s first comedy special “Mark Ricci: The Teenage Special” was released on Amazon Prime Video making him the first teenager to ever have a full standup special.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

I grew up in a household of 4 in the Greater Toronto Area. I was the “wild kid” in school unless I had a teacher that scared me. I played hockey on the weekends but did it because my friends did it. I found it semi-enjoyable, but more like as a once-or-twice-a-month thing, not 6 times a month. And don’t get me started with soccer in the summer. You could find me picking dandelions while I was supposed to be defending the goalie.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

I loved watching movies, especially the behind-the-scenes featurettes on the DVD. There’s a home video of me watching the behind-the-scenes documentary of “Monsters, Inc.” at 4 years old. I was utterly fascinated with the process and wanted to learn more. I always reenacted scenes from my favorite movies at family get-togethers and found items around the house to create costumes. One example that comes to mind is throwing together a Woody hat and an oversized grey jacket to portray Inspector Gadget. There was never any question that I would join this industry.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

My first time coming to LA was crazy. To save money on a plane ticket I decided to drive my car down. It was 38 hours of trying not to fall asleep behind the wheel. When I finally got there, I met up with about 8 guys and a couple of girls that were all trying to grow their audience on YouTube. We were trying to live together but couldn’t afford anything, so we squeezed together in a studio apartment with two beds and one bathroom. It wasn’t ideal but we bonded over our common goal, which was survival. One day we found a rat inside our toilet and I did the only reasonable thing to do in that situation, which was to flush it down. I then realized I just re-enacted the opening scene from the DreamWorks movie “Flushed Away” and sent the main character on his adventure. I just hope that the rat is okay now.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I went through a phase of reviewing movies on YouTube from age 12 to 18. I just had such passionate opinions when I watched movies because I see so many that I felt the need to share them with people. I realized over time that it’s probably not the best idea for an actor to be ripping bad movies to shreds when I could very well end up working with the people that made those bad movies.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

Right now I’m writing a script for a comedic feature with my pal and writing partner Kaleb Carmichael. We worked on our successful “Spider-Man” fan film series together. I have an actor/mentor that I admire involved in overseeing the development of the project, and those details should be revealed soon. I also have the fifth and final installment of our Spidey series coming out by the end of the year.

You have been blessed with success in a career path that can be challenging. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path, but seem daunted by the prospect of failure?

Embrace failure because it is an inevitable part of the process. You have to learn the lessons of what works and what doesn’t before you can find any measure of success — and that takes time. The journey is the longest part so you have to learn to enjoy it, even if it’s the light at the end of the tunnel that is getting you through it.

We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

The entertainment industry provides every man with an escape. But it is also a reflection of reality. So every race should populate films and streaming, the same way they populate the world. With entertainment being as powerful as it is, it gives young minds an idea of how the world should be, so it’s important that they get to see people like themselves represented on screen. We should all feel like we are deserving of opportunities in life just as much as the next person. This inclusiveness may inspire the youth of every race and culture to join the industry themselves, and tell stories that feel true to them. Diversity of race in the entertainment industry can lead to a diversity of stories because everyone has a voice.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started”

  1. Be patient dude! Don’t let others get you down. You can’t please everyone even if you try.
  2. You’re gonna start playing “Spider-Man” when you’re 17, so start lifting some weights!
  3. Don’t get attached to your sister’s hamster. It dies.
  4. Don’t put that much effort into college, they’re not paying YOU to be there! Make those connections though!

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

You only burn out when you’re not enjoying what you’re doing. If your “burnout” lasts longer than a few months, it’s definitely time to reassess and switch directions.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

I hear all the time that people are burdened with crazy amounts of student debt, sometimes more than $100,000. Schools shouldn’t be allowed to charge as much as they do. It’s not like all that money goes to the professors; it goes to advertising on television, online, and billboards, like they’re promoting the next Marvel movie. Crazy, especially when they charge this much for programs with zero job security. I’ve seen people get a degree just to use it as toilet paper because they can’t find a job. That’s some damn expensive toilet paper.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My parents. Even with all the concern along the way, they ultimately understood that I had to get out there and just try what I wanted to do, no matter how long it took to work.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“It ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward” from Rocky Balboa. I’ve had to tell myself this quote many, many times. The true tests in life are dealing with obstacles. They enjoy seeing you fail. You just have to brush it off like it’s nothing. That’s how winning is done.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them.

Definitely Stallone! I’m so inspired by his story and the fact that he’s still such a go-getter now, when he could easily just spend his days out on a boat on some private island. He’s such a passionate storyteller.

How can our readers follow you online?

They can follow me on pretty much all socials @MovieManMark! Including YouTube, of course.

This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!

Thank you, same to you!

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