The Guy Behind the Short Attention Span Video Answered Questions on Reddit Yesterday

Do you have a short attention span? Are you even reading this right now?!?

Yesterday College Humor dared the Internet to watch three really boring minutes of video (with an oddly backwards-running clock), and the Internet responded by sharing the video like crazy.

The boring guy (OK, maybe he’s not always boring and his real name is Adam Conover) took to Reddit after the video was shared and answered a few questions for the community.

In case you were wondering…

My biggest question is what motivated you to make a video like this? This video’s purpose was not to entertain, but solely to inform, unlike the majority of your content, which at most is for both of these purposes.

We had discussed at CollegeHumor the idea of doing a video that’s a dare, like a staring contest or a video that’s intentionally boring. I immediately thought of my own inability to watch a video all the way through – whenever someone sends me a link to a video, I always IMMEDIATELY skip to 30 seconds in (cause the first few seconds are usually boring), then stop watching 30 seconds before the end because I’m on to the next thing. I wanted to make a video that addressed those behavior patterns directly, and that made the viewer stop and listen in a way that we’re not used to. It’s extremely gratifying to see that, based on the response, it seems to have worked!

How hard was it NOT to put a joke at the end? I know you said a bunch of times “there won’t be a payoff”…but I still expected something right up to the end.

Ha. Some people at CH suggested it! But honestly, right now I am more interested in comedy that has something to say, and adding a joke at the end would have deflated the message. Sometimes you can do more by NOT making a joke at a particular moment than by making one — that’s what I’m learning the longer I do comedy.

I don’t know if it was completely entertainment free – that boredom itch in my skull went away when he made the joke about shaq and didn’t come back for the rest of the video.

Ha, true! As a comic, I couldn’t not slip ONE little joke in there.

Why have the time go backwards on the clock? Another metaphor?

It’s actually a countdown clock used to time swim meets! We just wanted a visual representation of the fact that the video was exactly 3 minutes long. I like that so many people are reading it as a metaphor though!

Hi Adam, my question is: what hair product did you use in the video?

Right now I’m using Blind Barber 60 Proof Hair Wax, though I’m thinking of switching back to a cheaper product, Garnier Fructis Surf Hair.

Do you have any tips or useful links for improving one’s attention span? I myself have big trouble keeping attention for over 10 minutes, even if I’m really trying.

Oh geez. I’m afraid I don’t have many tips or tricks. I made this video because I suffer from the same problems myself! One thing I did try was to use a Chrome extension called “Controlled multi-tab browsing” that set a maximum number of tabs I could have open at one time — I set it at 3. I used that for about a year, but recently decided to try to fly without it a bit. It helped!

How many takes did this single shot video take? Good stuff.

I believe we did 11 takes and this was the 8th one. This was by far the best! As an actor, it’s really hard to hit emotional beat you want to hit consistently in a 3 minute video! I have a lot more respect for theatre actors now, that’s for sure.