Julian Bass loves Spider-Man, a trait you can easily glean by scrolling through the videos he posts to his TikTok and Twitter accounts.
"I just think Spider-Man is so fun. It's so inspiring to me," Bass told NPR's Weekend Edition. "Everything, every little aspect that you could possibly think of about Spider-Man is something that I'm aware of, that I know of."
In one now-viral video, the 20-year-old theater major at Georgia State University morphs into his favorite heroes using his own special-effects — first a Jedi wielding a blue lightsaber, then Ben 10, before his final transition into Spider-Man. He asked his followers to retweet the video "enough times that Disney calls." Twenty million views later, Disney wasn't the only one he heard from.
At first, he said his video gained "some small traction with my immediate circle."
"And then the verified profiles started commenting," he said. "The first one for me was The Lonely Island. And then I started seeing Josh Gad, Matthew Cherry. I saw Mark Hamill liked it. I mean if Mark Hamill likes it, I'm a Jedi now."
Bass said these aren't just retweets — he's also getting messages from "bigwigs" such as Marvel co-president Louis D'Esposito and people from HBO Max.
"Everyone you can think of has been just blowing up my phone recently and I just need to sort of mitigate how to respond to everybody and make sure I can get these opportunities and seize these opportunities in the best way possible," he said.
He's hoping those opportunities could potentially lead into a role in front of the camera, despite his professional-looking special-effects work behind the videos.
"The skills that I have as a visual effects artist kind of were born out of me wanting to be in front of the camera and looking good while I'm doing it," he said. "My parents are fantastic for doing this but they told me that, yeah Julian, you can do this. Use this program, this little free thing here. Yeah you can use a green screen and learn how to do that. And so I was like, if I can, why don't I? If I want to act like Spider-Man, why not make it look like Spider-Man?"
After he posted the video, responses began pouring in, requesting to see him cast as Miles Morales, the first Afro-Latino character to take on the name Spider-Man in the Spider-Verse.
"Yeah to be a fan of something and then to see people want you to be a part of it, that's a chance that I will not ruin for myself whatsoever," Bass said. "If they pass on it, look, that's OK, there's plenty more opportunities. But I feel like I'm ready to take my shot and that's truly what it's all about right now."
Denise Guerra and Melissa Gray produced and edited the audio version of this story.