TECHNOLOGY
So, You Wanna Be Famous?

A Layman’s Guide to Achieving Overnight Celebrity

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Ask any superstar: Most will swear they’re blessed to enjoy such widespread success and media attention. But with the power that today’s Internet has to transform everyday individuals -- e.g., TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington and bitter divorcee Tricia Walsh Smith -- into overnight sensations, well … who needs serendipity when you’ve got the World Wide Web? Case in point: American Way’s contributing editor SCOTT STEINBERG. His recent book, Get Rich Playing Games (www.getrichgaming.com), cost pennies to make but has landed him guest spots on NBC, Fox, and CNN. We decided he could teach us -- and you -- a thing or two. If you’re ready to take the world by storm, then heed the following advice, and worldwide renown will be just a click away.

Shh, don’t tell Al Roker: The way modern newsrooms operate, pen a volume on anything and you’re an instant expert. Print-on-demand services like iUniverse, Lulu.com, and Worldclay mean anyone can become a published author. And for just $500 to $600, you can even ship illustrated, professionally boundhardback volumes to Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble.

Clothes make the man. Use CafePress, Print-Mojo, or Spreadshirt to design and sell hats, jackets, tees, boxers, bodysuits, and more. Coin an especially catchy slogan or ideological statement, and runway stardom could be yours.

Prove tomorrow’s Spielberg is staring back in the mirror…It just takes a simple, budget-friendly USB camera, e.g., Logitech’s QuickCam Communicate MP ($50) or Creative’s Vado Pocket Video Cam ($100). Once shot, video shorts are easily transferred to computer and film-sharing sites like YouTube, Viddler, or Metacafe, which attract millions of eager viewers. Film gets discovered, and poof, you’re accepting an Oscar come February.
 
Want to play DJ? Podcasts -- homemade digital audio clips created using any Mac- or PC-compatible headset ($10 and up) -- cost nothing to distribute via the web through iTunes or Zune Marketplace. Prefer music-making? Like witty monologues, songs can be quickly recorded using free (or wallet-friendly) programs like Audacity and Reaper. CD Baby and TuneCore offer immediate sales outlets.

Need Inspiration?
Just look to these online icons

Following the 1996 launch of film industry fansite Ain’t It Cool News (www.AintItCool.com), founder Harry Knowles quickly became a Hollywood fixture. He’s since appeared in several pictures, starred alongside Siskel & Ebert, and recently made the Forbes Web Celeb 25.

Humorist and public speaker Ze Frank began his Webby-winning career with a simple birthday-invitation video,which spread like wildfire online, culminating in a deal with Beverly Hills’ United Talent Agency.

Stand-up comedian Dane Cook -- a primetime regular most recently seen starring in the feature film Dan in Real Life alongside Steve Carell -- used MySpace to captivate millions of fans and watched his prospects skyrocket.

Emo quartet Panic! At the Disco scored a legendary record deal after they caught the ear of fellow multimillion-dollar-selling rocker Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz, who created a buzz for their online demo. The band’s contract was inked before the group had played one live show.