A Rap Video for a Biology Class Was His Demo Reel

Julien Turner, a sophomore at Morehouse College, is an aspiring filmmaker.

Name Julien Turner

Age 20

Hometown Pickerington, Ohio

Now Lives In a dormitory suite at Morehouse College in Atlanta, where he is a second-year student.

Claim to Fame In addition to being a straight-A student and a linebacker for his college football team, Mr. Turner is a budding filmmaker with a knack for making homespun content that ricochets across the web. Photos of his high school prom proposal (a goofy re-creation of a Jell-O mold gag from “The Office”) melted over 13,000 hearts on Twitter. He also runs Dreadhead Films, a indie movie studio he started with his 15-year-old brother, Justen, that has landed choice slots at the 2015 White House Student Film Festival and the Pan African Film and Art Festival. “Everywhere we go, we are always the youngest filmmakers there,” Mr. Turner said.

Big Break In November, Mr. Turner uploaded a homemade rap video on cell division as extra credit for a biology class. Set to the Lil Uzi Vert song “XO Tour Llif3,” the low-fi video takes place on campus and features lyrics like “if my genes go left unread/ all my cells are dead.” Once the activist Shaun King retweeted the video, a media firestorm took off, including an article in The New York Post, an appearance on “Good Morning America” and nearly 370,000 likes on Twitter. Mr. Turner also passed the course. “My professor said she loved it,” he said.

Latest Project The Turner brothers recently became two of the youngest directors to produce a segment for “Sesame Street.” They’re currently putting together a live-action short that will spotlight the number 6. Shot last month in Columbus, the clip features local children. Mr. Turner hopes to find roles for Bert and Ernie down the line. “We’re not at that level yet,” he said. “Hopefully, we get to work with them next.”

Next Thing The brothers are developing a television pitch about a black female superhero. “The gist is that some of the extreme environments that we’ve dealt with in our communities are actually giving people abilities,” he said.

Family Affair Mr. Turner’s father, Kevin, is a jazz professor at Ohio State University and his mother, Cynthia, is an accounting professor there who moonlights as a manager for her two sons. He and his younger brother used to ask for video equipment for Christmas and taught themselves techniques from watching YouTube. “We’re trying to soak in these experiences as young people and brothers, and use our youth and our blood connection to our advantage,” he said.

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