Sunday, September 20, 2009

From Crybaby to Pirate

We’ve all had megalomaniacal dreams of becoming a professional sports star, a movie actor, a rock star, or someone else rich and famous.  Is it the draw of international attention, a practically bottomless bank account, or the ability to do almost anything (legal) without consequences?

Yet, we’ve seen the negative consequences fame and fortune can have on young people who are ill-prepared for it.  The media has documented every gory detail of celebrities’ drug addictions, failed romances, and legal difficulties. 

I recently watched a documentary that gave me new respect for one of Hollywood’s own, because he stands out from the crowd. 

I’ve always admired the work of Johnny Depp.  Outside of the fact that he is exquisitely good looking, he brings a depth to his characters that is incredible, considering the wide variety of characters he has played.

What I learned about him that was really amazing to me was that he’s always followed his own brand of artistic integrity.  He fell into acting in a desperate need to make a living, and since then has put his heart into everything he does. 

He has chosen characters and projects not based on how much money they might make at the box office, or how they might further his career, but because they fascinated him and presented an opportunity to use his creativity and develop his craft.

When he became a father, he embraced the opportunity to do a family friendly movie for Disney.  At the time of his first “Pirates” film, his daughter didn’t understand he was an actor, but really believed he was a pirate.  In fact, he says what he really wants is for his movies to be a legacy, something his children can be proud of.  

Although I believe there is more to life than pursuing creative challenges, I give kudos to a man who isn’t afraid to be himself in an industry that is marked by an over-concern with image and prosperity. 

Johnny Depp, your life and your work have truly inspired me.  I hope that I can find the courage to follow my heart and use my metaphorical pen to encourage and inspire others in the same way.  Thank you for being you.

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