Memo to the kid from Two and a Half Men: There is hope. Ask Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Since his five-year stint on Third Rock From the Sun, Gordon-Levitt, who's been acting since age 6, has amassed 26 widely varied film credits, including surprising turns in Gregg Araki's Mysterious Skin and the smart-mouthed high-school noir Brick. His savvy is paying off this spring, with the one-two punch of the indie romantic comedy 500 Days of Summer and the not-so-indie G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. "I didn't avoid the pitfalls so much as I waited them out," says Gordon-Levitt, who attended Columbia University after Third Rock. "I always recommend aspiring actors forgo the 20th-century model of getting an agent and instead buy a camera and Final Cut and put stuff online." This isn't lip service: Gordon-Levitt's pet project is hitRECord.org, a video community site that helped spawn his directorial debut, Sparks, which premiered at Sundance this year. "Orson Welles would have loved YouTube," he says. "He'd be doing the craziest things."

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