Tinseltown For Tots Via Cd Rom

THINK YOUR OFFSPRING might be the next Steven Spielberg? Theatrix Interactive, an educational software maker in Emeryville, Calif., has a fun CD-ROM for your budding director.

Called--what else?--Hollywood, it lets kids age 9 and up create their own shows and screenplays using any multimedia PC clone or Apple Macintosh. The software has a cast of 10 animated figures, such as Crystal Glamour Lady and Lenny the Hippy. Budding screenwriters can place them in any of 20 settings and determine the mood and actions of the characters through pull-down menus. The kids can write dialogue, and the computer puts the words in the mouths of the characters, using text-to-speech technology. What's more, completed shows and stories can be stored on a single floppy and shared with friends and family who also have the Hollywood program.

Theatrix, which makes other educational programs that teach math, science, and music, says the software is designed to help kids develop writing and communication skills. Hollywood is expected to retail for about $40, starting in late September.