AUTOMOTIVE INSPIRATION from Pixar… Appreciation comes from Experience

Being an automotive vlogger and filmmaker as I am, I get to do some pretty neat stuff and my “ride” can take me many unique places. 

Although they are all cool, many stand out as being an experience that specifically is designed for me to appreciate life and those that dedicate themselves to adding some sort of joy into the world.

So when the people at Disney invited me to come up to Pixar near Berkeley to shoot a vlog (as an inside Pixar experience), my heart-motor jumped a beat. A few moments later and I was on a plane from LAX to SF with the anticipation of learning how Pixar works and getting an exclusive view of the upcoming “Cars 3” movie. They knew I was a car guy and had some serious surprises in store.

As we know here in Malibu, gratitude goes a long way in life. But appreciation is an aspect of gratitude when it comes to others doing things for you. So over the next 24 hours, I got a chance to do some things that very few people on the planet get to do, starting with a surprise visit from John Lasseter to explain his passion for cars and how that passion has permeated Pixar’s Cars franchise.

Growing up in Whittier in 1957, John Lasseter became an instant classic. The ‘57 Chevy sparked his interest in cars and peppered his life throughout the years. So when he put the team together for the Cars films at Pixar, his only stipulation seemed to be that those people shared that love of cars. They included head of the Cars brand, Jay Ward and Automotive Production Designer Jay Shuster.

Having had extensive conversation with these guys over the time there shifted my perspective about the films and my anticipation for the upcoming third installment. I did manage to see 40 exclusive minutes of the film with one scene nearly flooring me, being seriously muddy and fun.

But the day was also filled with the Pixar Studio Campus’ theaters, swimming pool, amazing cafes and a crazy cart race in the parking lot that I inadvertently managed to win. It was clear that these people not only appreciated their jobs, but each other for their creative prowess.

Each moment was filled with a new joy as we got exclusive presentations on the history of NASCAR, inside the Cars sculpting studio, animation evolution and car design process. Having done so many cars for film projects myself and being a Disney Imagineering veteran, I felt like I was home.

I so appreciate the Pixar Team, PR experts at Disney and the scores of people I met for giving me the gift of entering behind the scenes of an evolving world as the Cars franchise has become. It’s a world of inanimate objects that, if you’ll let them, might exhibit more life than most of the people you know. 

By the time this article comes out, there will have been several episodes of my show posted for you guys to see most of what I saw while there. Of course, the two NDAs prohibited me from showing more, but you’ll just have to take my word for the fact that “Cars 3” will blow your mind … again.

Big thanks to Pixar, especially the three mentioned above for allowing me to see that vision. My experience there has enhanced my love of all things cars — as if that were even possible. Certainly, my octane rating just went way up.

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