Netflix has created an “ultra-short” category because we are no longer able to pay attention to anything

It is becoming more and more difficult for us to sit on the sofa to enjoy a long movie. When we say long we refer to a film lady of the style of Lawrence of Arabia OR Twentieth century. Three or four hours between chest and back on a weekday does not seem like an easy path for many of the viewers, almost more accustomed to watching series on platforms such as Netflix, HBO or Disney +. It is enough to access forums like Reddit or Quora to read comments like “Why is it so hard for me to watch long movies?” or “Why am I not concentrating when I watch movies?” The reasons are many and varied, and mainly attend to a change in the capacity of attention of the spectators.

Well, Netflix’s response has been none other than to create a list of movies that last less than an hour and a half: the “Short-Ass” section.

We owe it all to Saturday Night Live. Yes, Netflix has actually added this category in response to Saturday Night Live song by Pete Davidson about movies under an hour and 30 minutes. Netflix tweeted the SNL rap adding “good idea.” Immediately after, it premiered its new section of films organized by genre that last at least an hour and a half and a maximum of one hour and 40 minutes.

What can we find? Some titles that you do not they’ll be stuck on the couch for hours, like Zoolander, a death funeral, The Knights of the Square Table and their crazy followers OR Midnight in Paris. Interestingly, Netflix did not include Davidson’s selections in his rap song, as Walking Miss Daisy and The Lion King. However, what the category does include are movies like The dictator, scary Movieme, Obsession OR A peaceful place. All of them about an hour and a half.

Movies are getting shorter and simpler. There is a general consensus among the screenwriters’ guild that the typical movie scene is getting shorter. While scenes from 50 years ago might have an average of 3 or 4 pages, in the late 1980s, the general rule of thumb was 2 pages. Today the average scene is one or a half page long.

Similarly, there is a sense that what used to function as the end point of the first act plot is now more likely to occur in the midpoint of the first act. The same seems to be working with the number of pages. A quarter of a century ago, a normal script could have 120 pages. Nowadays they usually have 105 as the ideal length.

What do we mean by shorten. When thinking about this phenomenon of “shortening” movies, there’s really nothing more than anecdotal evidence. Let’s take Karate Kid as an example, its original version from 1984. We note how Miyagi doesn’t officially start training Daniel until almost halfway through the story, and we realize that that will never happen in a contemporary film. Audiences are smarter. They need less context. They want to get into action faster. Just like in social networks: faster, faster, faster.

Why do we have a hard time sitting down to watch long movies? The reason behind this is probably our attention span. We start watching a movie on the computer or on television and start looking at the mobile or reviewing anything on the iPad. And the worst part is that when we do this, we don’t stop the movie. This can be based on the gaze theory, which explains that the audience (in the cinema) is focused on the big screen in front of them and the only other thing they can focus on is their popcorn, but in reality, they are looking constantly the movie. On the contrary, there is the way we watch television in our homes. In your living room, bedroom, kitchen, or wherever, there are too many distractions.

Attention span is shrinking. Recently, a study published by the Technical University of Denmark suggests that the collective global attention span is shrinking due to the amount of information being presented to the public. Research shows that people now have more to focus on and do so for less time. To reach those conclusions, they analyzed the last 40 years of movie ticket sales, Google Books, Twitter data, Google trends, Reddit and Wikipedia.

It’s not TikTok’s fault. The idea that watching lots of fast-paced videos trains your brain to respond to shorter and shorter content isn’t that far-fetched. But several experts explain that this is not the case.. When you scroll through TikTok, your brain gets a dose of dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter released by the brain’s reward system and produces feelings of pleasure and motivates you to find more. “When you see something you don’t like, you quickly switch to something that produces more dopamine,” explained neuropsychologist Sanam Hafeez.

Like Instagram, Snapchat, or Twitter, TikTok isn’t designed to encourage long attention spans. But the adult brain is less susceptible to changes in its attention span than the teenage brain, so hours of TikToks might not change how you focus in the long run.

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