Get in touch with your creative self -- and never even leave the Web

By Hugh Hart
June 22, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT

School’s out, but serious students of pop culture have no excuse for slacking off, not when scores of online showbiz tutorials offer expert advice in the creative arts. For example, aspiring screenwriters trapped in third-act hell can e-mail the Writers Guild of America and seek help from an anonymous mentor (wga. org/mentors/how.html). Future ink-stained illustrators of America can learn to draw comic books at, run by Marvel Comics pro Kevin Cunningham (who’s worked on ”X-Men”). Or visit onedotzero. com and bone up on digital-video technique, then spend the summer shooting shaky-camera indie-style films. There’s much more. Surf EW’s Showbiz 101, our user-friendly crash course featuring some of the best edutainment sites on the Web.

( George Lucas, Tom Cruise, and Harrison Ford serve as officers of the Artists Rights Foundation, the group behind this elegant intro to moviemaking. Spy on Austin Powers back when he existed only as a hairy-chested swinger on director Jay Roach’s sequel storyboard, or check out Anjelica Huston’s acting advice (sorry, kids: her tip is ”Do your homework…”). A-

( model) Snorting heroin, starving yourself, and being really rude are no longer supermodel prerequisites. These days it takes a dollop of tough love, and Fashion Net dishes it out: Heidi Klum wannabes need to be ”between 5′ 9” to 6′ tall; not larger than a size 6; have perfect skin; and between 14 and 20 years of age,” according to the site. For the thin and beautiful, this chic, fat-free page explains how to work the camera and put together a portfolio. Next step: Contact one of the modeling agencies listed here and cross your bony fingers. B

( Rockers willing to get reamed can get feedback on their songs from some of the best producers in the biz, including Joe Boyd (R.E.M.), Pete Anderson (Dwight Yoakam), and Paul Kolderie (Radiohead, Hole). These studio wizards critique tapes submitted by Garageband members. (Musicians register for free.) The site’s everybody-gets-a-chance-to-be-heard ethos strikes a warm, punky chord for us; now, if they can just figure out a way to make money… A-

( Leno and Letterman employ the Reverse, the Substitution, and the Combo nightly. No, they’re not wrestling moves, says site cocreator John Cantu — they’re comedic techniques. Cantu, who once wrote bits for Joan Rivers, analyzes the how behind the ha-ha in a free e-mail newsletter. Downside: The site’s not pretty, and corny jokes abound. C+