Sam Radford

November 1, 2021

Always present (smartphone lessons from Will Ferrell)

I appreciated this segment from from The Hollywood Reporter’s recent profile of Will Ferrell. They capture this insight from Paul Rudd, his co-star in the upcoming Apple TV+ series The Shrink Next Door:

Rudd, who’d worked with Ferrell on the Anchorman films, says he was struck at how committed his co-star was: “Normally, when you’re done shooting, everyone just goes right to their phones, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen Will with a cellphone,” says Rudd. “He never brought one to set, ever, and so I did the same, which meant when we weren’t shooting, we would hang out and we’d read lines and we’d talk. And that’s the thing about Will — he’s always kind of present.” 

Ferrell never brings a phone on set. Instead, he’s free to ‘hang out’ and ‘talk’. As a result ‘he’s always present’.

I love this. 

I love my phone too. And I’m grateful for all it enables. But we all know we need reminders like this. 

How many opportunities to hang out, talk, and be present do we miss because we have an easy distraction of looking at our phone?

How many conversations do we limit because we’re not fully committed to them, half checking our phones at the same time?

How many friendships don’t ever flourish as they could because we’re distracted, never giving ourselves to them completely?

Are there times when we need to leave our phones at home? Or switched off (not just silenced)? Would the world fall apart if we weren’t contactable for a few hours sometimes to ensure we’re present, engaged, and totally focussed on what we’re doing and who we’re with?

I know I’m not alone in needing to make improvements here.


Got some thoughts on this? I’d love to hear from you – do hit reply or drop me a note.

@samradford |

About Sam Radford

Husband, father, lover of books, writer, tech geek, sports fan, and pragmatic idealist from Sheffield, England.