A Study of Attention Screenplay- By Joseph Morin

NARRATOR: In recent times behavioral analysts are noticing a shift in humanity’s attentions. In this video we will explore the fundamental differences between the forms of thought and what the implications of this shift really mean for humanity.

Representing a deep attention thinker is this female test subject. Watch as she works away at her homework, free from distraction. And representing a hyper-attentive thinker is this male test subject. Fidgity and unconcentrated, he-

JUSTIN: Who’s there?

NARRATOR: You can hear me?

JUSTIN: Your narration is kind of obvious and I’m bored…

NARRATOR: Well I um- She can’t seem to hear me.

[Jess being distracted studying]

JUSTIN: She’s too busy studying. Boring.

NARRATOR: Well I um- Hello? Hello?

[On his phone]

Looks like he’s moved on to other stimuli already!

As the subjects go about their daily lives in a controlled environment, we observe how they conduct themselves. They read:

[Jess reads a novel while Justin scrolls through his computer]

JUSTIN: That’s a cool headline, and that’s a cool headline, and that’s a cool headline, and-

JESS: Would you please quiet down? I’m trying to study?

JUSTIN [Mocking and angry]: I’m trying to study…

NARRATOR: Listening to music:

[Jess listens to classical music and Justin flips through a bunch of symbolic songs. I Want it All, I Want it That Way, I Me Mine, No Time, Smells Like Teen Spirit]

JUSTIN: Boring, bored, boring, bored, ugh!

NARRATOR: Watching movies:

[Jess and Justin sit and watch Star Wars on TV]

JUSTIN: Reading? Why is there reading before a movie called Star Wars? Ugh!

NARRATOR: Killing time:

[Jess writes excitedly. Justin stares back and forth at a blank TV and the dark screen of his phone]

JESS: Why are you staring at blank screens?

JUSTIN: Don’t bother me. I’m busy.

JESS: You aren’t doing anything!

JUSTIN: Yes I am. I’m avoiding interaction through thinly veiled excuses…

JESS: Why? If you just talked with me you probably wouldn’t be so bored.

JUSTIN: Talked about what?

JESS: How about the deeper mysteries of mankind and the universe itself. Why do we exist? How did we come to be? These are the questions I ask myself every day.

JUSTIN [Zoning out with a dumb expression on his face]

NARRATOR: Hold in there male test subject. We’ll check back in on you once your real life interaction is over.

[Clock ticking]

JESS: And that’s why schools shouldn’t pander to people who can’t concentrate.

JUSTIN (nearly asleep): That’s not fair though! School is boring! They should make it cool.

NARRATOR: Hold on there. Did you ever think maybe schools shouldn’t go to either extreme? If they continue as they are, students like you will tune out, but if they go too far the other way you won’t learn deep thinking skills required for many of life’s slower moments.

JUSTIN: I’m fantastic at multitasking!I don’t need to do boring things.

NARRATOR: Unfortunately there’s no such thing. When multitasking, you are just doing everything a little worse than if you’d tried one at a time.

JUSTIN: [Starts crying]

NARRATOR: It’s alright male test subject. Your kind of thinking has its uses in the world too.

JUSTIN: Really?

NARRATOR: Yes. Here in this forest we explore our test subjects in the most controlled natural environment possible.

Humanity is believed to have evolved our hyper-attentive thinking first as a means of survival in a harsh, cruel world. Reduced to basic instinct, the hyper-attentive test subject finds himself in his element.

[Tarzan cry as Justin rushes on nearly animalistic. He kills something with a knife, scavenges for food, and makes shelter. Jess is disgusted at the food and is uncomfortable sleeping on the ground without a tent]


JESS: Did you bring the tent?

JUSTIN: Sorry, forgot. I was too busy thinking about surviving!

JESS: The campus is just through those trees!

JUSTIN: Well it’s too late to go back for it now. It’s too far.

JESS: I can’t even get a signal out here.

JUSTIN: Why would you want to be on your phone out here? There’s so much to do!

JESS: It doesn’t feel productive.

NARRATOR: As the male subject must learn the benefits of deeper thought, you too, female subject, must learn the benefits of some hyper-attention.

JESS: Wait! Who are you?

NARRATOR: You can hear me now? Good. You’re learning already.

JESS: You didn’t answer my question? Who are you?

NARRATOR: Um. Focus on survival for now.

The moral here is that both hyper-attention and deep attention have their benefits in the world and both should be instilled. Hyper-attentive people should make more of an effort to interact instead of hiding behind distractions, and deep thinkers need to open their minds to a little hyper-attention every once in a while, for it is one of humanity’s basic instincts. With this knowledge, you may go out proud into the world and put it to good use. Remember: keep thinking

By Joseph Morin

Joe's passion for film and entertainment began at 7 years old when his younger brother demanded to watch Duel of the Fates every day for weeks (on DVD). Joe admired the sequence so much, he decided to dedicate his life to film-making and storytelling. He has a degree in Cinema and Media Studies from York University. Joe loves DC superheroes (especially Superman), the first six Star Wars movies, and arguing about media with anyone who will listen.

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