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Johnny Depp:Why is he different from others?

Did you comprehend you most likely know Johnny Depp’s films better than he does?
That’s if we can take this interview at face worth, where he claims not to have seen his most recent movie Public Enemies.
Incredulous, the interviewer asks him why not. Here’s Johnny’s answer:

I’ve always kind of tried to avoid them as much as possible… I just prefer the experience. I like the experience, I like the process, I like doing the work. But then, you know if I’ve got to see myself – I don’t like to see the thing become the product, I suppose. Once they say “You’re wrapped” on the film, it really is none of your business. The director is going to take that performance or whatever options you gave him and the editor, and they’re going to do with it what they want.

From the outside, this might sound hard to believe. After all, for anyone who has dreamt of being a celebrity, surely watching the end product of your efforts, seeing yourself up there on the big screen, is central to the fantasy?
Not for Johnny.
According to him, the thrilling part is doing the work, immersing himself in the character and putting the whole thing into his presentation. After that, the film is “none of his business” – it belongs to the director.
Johnny is interested in the procedure, not the product.
Those of us who are actively involved in creative work will know in our hearts what he’s talking about. The minute you take your eye off the ball, forget the work in front of you and start daydreaming about money, fame and other rewards, you’re risking mediocrity.
Extrinsic motivations such as money, fame and critical acclaim represent rewards for artistic work. While it’s nice to enjoy these things after the fact, Amabile’s research shows that focusing on them too much is a creativity killer.

Does Johnny Take It too Far?

Johnny’s explanation to the problem of creative motivation is brutally simple – he focuses exclusively on intrinsic motivation, and does his best to ignore the external rewards. I’m sure he remembers to collect his pay cheque, but by avoiding watching the movie, he minimises his investment in his screen persona and the finished artefact.
Now, many people might say this is a bit extreme, and it wouldn’t do Johnny any harm to watch his films at the cinema, and have the DVDs on heavy rotation at home. But then many people haven’t achieved a fraction of what Johnny has, creatively. So it sounds like his approach works just fine for him.
You could also disagree that Johnny is in the fortunate position of having someone else to worry about marketing and shipping the ‘product’. I’m sure there are plenty of public reading this who would love to be able to focus on their inventive process all day long, and hand over the messy business of business to someone else. While millions dream of being a famous actor, Johnny Depp concentrates on performing.

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