7 PR lessons from ‘Psycho’

These killer communications insights can help you better hone your writing and make campaigns more effective.

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Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” doesn’t scream PR tips, but there’s more insights than first meets the eye.

Slash through the film and its production, and you’ll discover several shocking lessons that apply to communicators.

Consider these insights to boost your PR prowess:

1. Chop those gulps.

Before releasing one of his films to the public, Hitchcock screened it for his wife, Alma, a onetime film editor. She admired “Psycho,” but told Hitchcock that he couldn’t ship it to theaters as is.

Why? Because star Janet Leigh, who plays Marion Crane, gulps when she’s supposed to be dead. When Hitch examined the individual frames, he saw Leigh breathing, so he sliced out the gulps.

PR lesson: Don’t release crucial copy (or video) without having someone else review it. Doing so can ensure that mistakes don’t mar your efforts.

2. Listen to your staff.

Hitchcock originally believed the shower scene would be scarier if it were projected without underscoring. His go-to composer, Bernard Herrmann, thought otherwise. He convinced the director that shrilling violin strings would be the perfect accompaniment to the sound of knife slashings and Marion’s screams.

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