Excerpt from Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries by Peter Sims on inquisitiveness and field trips:
There is a heavy emphasis at Pixar on doing field research to find creative insights and inspiration. For example, the team that developed the movie Cars went on two trips with Michael Wallis, author of Route 66: The Mother Road. They went to racetracks, a Detroit auto show, and on long road trips across Route 66. "The saw the teepee-shaped motels and gas stations," Wallis told the New York Times. "They felt the wind through the winter wheat. They gulped it all in." At an old car-wrecker lot in Galena, Kansas, Joe Ranft, then head of Pixar's story group, stopped for a moment and studied it. And it was there that the idea for "Tow-Mater," the rusty tow truck and beloved Cars character, was born.
Meanwhile, the crew working on Finding Nemo took several scuba diving trips to Monterey and Hawaii. They studied underwater reefs, sea life, fish movements, and how light passed through water at different depths. Pixar also hired Adam Summers, a professor and fish specialist, to give twelve lectures on the subject. "They were infinitely curious about fish, and they were flat-out the best students I had ever had," Summers shared. "By the end of each lecture, they would be asking me questions that I didn't have answers for."
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