Web wise

Seeking stardom on the Internet? Following are some helpful tips for finding success and avoiding pitfalls.

Whether you're an aspiring actor, a rising star or already a household name, self-promotion is crucial to making it in this crazy little business called show. And now, thanks to MySpace.com, showcasing your talent for millions of people has never been easier. To paraphrase Capt. James T. Kirk, MySpace is the final frontier for the acting community -- the audition tape, the resume and the head shot all rolled into one overly revealing personality profile.

But to be effective, you must connect with your public on a personal level. This is important even if you don't yet have a public with which to connect. It's all about letting people in so they can harass you and waste your time and otherwise make life inconvenient. It has grown to become an important element of the Screen Actors Guild membership zeitgeist. And zeitgeist, it just so happens, is a very, very effective Z word.

Considering that agents and casting directors now troll the MySpace universe in an earnest search for the next Wilmer Valderrama, you, as an actor, need to take this whole Internet thing seriously or risk a lifetime spent uttering the greeting, "Welcome to Kinko's! May I assist you with your copying needs?"

With that in mind, here are some tips for performers looking to generate the most effective and flattering MySpace entry, culled from far too many hours spent examining the cyberoutput of the rich, the famous and the scandalously self-indulgent:

Beware of impostors.
Someone posting under the name "Oprah Winfrey" describes "himself" as "26, male, from Warrenville, Illinois, and with an annual income of $45,000-$60,000." Close, but no cigar.

Funny is good.
On the MySpace site of Borat, the alter ego of Sacha Baron Cohen writes under General Interests that he enjoys "trampoline, table tennis, sitting on comfytobale (sic) chairs, disco dance and shoot dog," lists under Zodiac Sign "the Potato" and, under Body Type, lists "2 arms, 2 legs, 112 teeth and chram (sic) thick like tube of Pringles."

If at all possible, be like David Letterman.
Yes, Dave has a spot on MySpace, on which he notes, "I was raised in the woods by a pack of poodles until I was 17 years old" and, under Who I'd Like to Meet, writes, "I don't like meeting anyone I don't know. I don't usually leave the house. Actually, right now I am under the house in my crawl space." His slogan: "At Harrison Ford, We'll Treat You Right."

Work to deflate unreasonable expectations.
Or, make like Jennifer Aniston, who notes on her profile, "No, I cannot make you famous. I'll give you advice, but I can't influence anyone in the business so that you'll be famous." Despite this caveat, Aniston lists 1,278 friends -- none of them famous.

Be yourself, because at the end of the day, you're the only self you've got.
Follow the example of ABC's "Ugly Betty" star America Ferrera, who writes on her entry, "I believe in women's rights and eating everything you want! No seriously ... everything! Curves and extra pounds have a way of expressing who you really are!" Under General Interests: "Things that don't involve losing weight." You go, girl!

Do your best not to follow Larry David's example.
Under Who I'd Like to Meet, his entry reads, "Nobody."

You're never too old to be a MySpacer.
Just ask Paul Newman. He's 81, and he's got his very own profile designed mostly to hype his Newman's Own company. Interests: "Acting and salad." Music: "I like the sound salad dressing makes when it lands on the lush, green leaves of a freshly tossed salad." Thank you, Cool Hand Luke.