The artist and musician Christian Marclay's epic, 24-hour, real-time film, The Clock, has been playing at museums and galleries around the world or almost two years now. It uses hundreds of film clips showing clocks and watches to mark the actual time. It's pretty amazing, and occasionally exciting or even suspenseful. If you let it, it can just carry you along, keeping you locked onto it like music video-era MTV, always waiting to see what the next clip will be.
This is what I think of when I watch Sprout's annual Snooze-A-Thon, an uninterrupted, 11-hour series of shots of TV characters sleeping, starting at 7pm EST on Christmas Eve: it's like The Clock, but only kid shows, and only sleeping.
We just watched a few minutes of the Snooze-A-Thon just now while we were surfing, and it's pretty solid non-entertainment. Plenty boring, but still too interesting to actually put a kid to sleep. There are just too many cuts; I think I kid'd want to keep watching to see if Caillou followed the Wiggles.
In the Times, Neil Genzlinger tries to put together a shot list boring enough to put someone to sleep.
But what's needed, I think, is long and boring. Where nothing happens, including edits. Something more like Andy Warhol's 5+ hour epic film Sleep, where cuts last nearly a minute each. Or better yet, a sleep version of Empire 8 hours in which there are no cuts at all.
So what you need, then, is like webcam video of someone sleeping. And it might as well be your own kid. He'd be just transfixed enough by his own image to keep watching, and then seeing himself modeling good behavior--by sleeping--should be enough to push him over the edge. That's the theory, anyway. Maybe someone can try it out and let us know?