Creative Exercise: Get Inspired By People

Christopher Guest, director and star of the movies "Spinal Tap," "Best of Show" and "Waiting for Guffman," gets his ideas by watching and listening to other people.

Sitting in a hotel lobby, Guest overheard a discombobulating exchange between members of a second-rate rock band. "Spinal Tap" was born.

And "Waiting for Guffman" characters are composites of people Guest watched in high school and college theaters.

"Before anything else," says Guest," I would describe myself as an observer."

Go out of your way to observe people today.

Excerpted from "zing! Five steps and 101 tips for creativity on command" by Sam Harrison, MacHillock Publishing/IPG Distributors.