Architects of our digital world.


Be better…

Because we CAN be.

And we CAN see that these systems have been designed with intricacy.

So that companies can keep our attention indefinitely.

I don’t want to keep crushing these freaking candies…

I don’t want these alerts to complete-ly command me.

I don’t care if that panda bear is dancing…

((Music. ????))

Well may-be…

With a hula-hoop!!

Okay, this is fantastic. I have to share this with my ten friends, and 10,000 strangers. Caption: “Who wants to throw a panda rager??” Great, let me go back about my life. For God sakes, I’m trying to right-swipe my wife…


((Phone dings. ????))

30 seconds and just two Facebook likes.

Or is that just two for which I’ve been notified?

Let me go back and check inside, and see whose likes it tried to hide.

They don’t show them all I wonder why?


Ha-ha this panda is dancing.

And another video plays after automatically. This one of a gopher that ‘stage turns’ dramatically. It’s like my attention is kept systematically raptured by algorithms that no exactly what I want.

Or not what I want…

Just what I’ll watch.

And the people behind this intelligent design genuinely want to better our lives.

But their bonuses just happen to be tied to keeping “Time on Site” exceptionally high.

And now even my news apps have been gamified.

And what am I,

NOT going to click that

one simple sex tip

guaranteed to blow her mind?!

Wait, where was I?

And why have I forgotten to look for that thing I’m supposed to find?

And my God, look at the time!

It is shocking… but somehow YES, Netflix, I am still watching…

and I know, I know…

I should have more self control.

But just to be clear,

You just spent a million dollars telling me this story, designed to cut off at the end leaving me wanting more. See of COURSE I want to see what you have in store… See my cursor already waiting there on the screen floor, as you tease the next hour in all of its glory. And you’ll give it to me. Unless I actively ABORT! See it seems the decision’s already made for me. The countdown clock’s moving.

There it goes…

5, 4, 3…

I need to sleep…

but you made me want THIS more.

This is not what I consciously signed up for…

when I hit play.

On one episode.

6 hours ago…

Architects of our digital world.

You have more data, information and control over our attention and the tools to tweak our emotions, so we’ll return to your experience.

But is that what you should do?

((Girl walks by.))

Or should you…

Build digital tools so advanced,

They can actually enhance the world outside

the device in our hands.

Can you add SO much value

That it let’s us put our phones,

back in our pants.

As fast as we possibly can

((Phone buzzes. ????))

((Music. ????))

Not time-sucking, time-GIVING innovation.

That’s what it means to be truly technologically advanced.

The future is NOT all screens.

It’s humanity enhanced.

((Music. ????))

((Outro text.))

Imagine a future where technology is built on our values, not our screen time.


A poetic short film by Max Stossel & Sander van Dijk: In the Attention Economy, technology and media are designed to maximize our screen-time. But what if they were designed to help us live by our values? What if news & media companies were creating content that enriched our lives, vs. catering to our most base instincts for clicks? What if social platforms were designed to help us create our ideal social lives, instead of to maximize time-on site and “likes”? What if dating apps measured their success in how well they helped us find what we’re looking for instead of in # of swipes? As technology gets more and more engaging, and as AI and VR become more and more prevalent in our day-to-day lives we need to take a look at how we’re structuring our future. Time Well Spent is a movement to align technology with our humanity:

Director, Co-Producer: Sander van Dijk,

Writer, Co-Producer: Max Stossel,

Production Company: Yacht Club Films Director of Photography: Conor Murphy Color: RCO Music & Sound Design: Wesley Slover – Steadicam Operator: Kyle Fasanella Graphic Artist: Aaron Kemnitzer CG Artist: Joseph Pistono Visual Effects Assistant: Chelsea Galen Roto Assistant: Regina Morgan-Munoz Lead Actress: Crystal Lee Special Thanks: Chantal Stafford-Abbott, Radha Agrawal, Koen Oosterbroek Anneke Jong, Jacob Tugendrach, Alex Mizrahi, David Markowitz, Gene Gurkoff, Katie Growald, Steph Bagley, Joel Wishkovsky, Amy Karr, Erica Shay, Kurt Peloquin, Tobias Rose Stockwell, Erica Berger, Nora Graham, Elana Meta, Julian Dufault, Michael Rosen, Kelly Stoecklin, Taryn Southern, Adam London, Gary Su, Auston Copeland, Katya Stepanov, Betty Kay Kendrick, Zach Bell, David Yarus, Stephan Cesarini, Jon Morris, Michelle Finizio, Lauren Bille, Felicity Conrad, Abel Costa, Ria Bouttier, James Hercher, Sarah Knapp, Simon Roberts, Alex Abelin, & Dan Fredinburg, Lead Actor: Max Stossel, Visual Effects: Sander van Dijk