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Systematic & Cinematic – Part 1

The SIT Thinking Patterns in Award-winning Movies

As you know, SIT’s 5 thinking patterns (Subtraction, Multiplication, Division, Task Unification and Attribute Dependency) have been academically proven to exist amongst many successful products, services, strategies, communication activities and packages. But did you know these patterns exist amongst award winning films as well?

To prove this point, I will be sharing with you a number of examples of how the patterns take shape in films that decorate cinema’s hall of fame.

The first example will focus on “Subtraction” which involves eliminating the most valuable component from the system and then finding benefits for the new form.

If you can think of any other interesting examples using “Subtraction” or any other tool – please share !!

Subtract the main hero? are you PSYCHO?!

Psycho is a 1960 American suspense/horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, John Gavin, and Janet Leigh.

The film depicts the encounter between a secretary, Marion Crane (Leigh), who goes to a secluded motel after embezzling money from her employer, and the motel’s disturbed owner and manager, Norman Bates (Perkins), and the aftermath of their encounter.

Psycho is now considered one of Hitchcock’s best films and is highly praised as a work of cinematic art by international critics.

For me, what makes Psycho so effectively scary is the fact that Hitchcock enables us to sympathize with Marion, the leading character, for about 20 minutes of the film and then violently eliminates her from the plot in the famous shower scene. This subtraction so early on in the plot was never done before in the history of movies and went against the traditional plots where main characters were expected to survive or at least monopolize the plot almost to the end. In the context of 1960, Hitchcock recognized the impact on audiences of subtracting this main character and popular actress so early on: I can imagine the distress and anxiety the audience must have felt once they lost their heroine because of a crazy serial killer and a sadistic movie director.

To the audience’s relief, Marion is soon replaced by private detective Milton Arbogast (Martin Balsam) who has been hired to find her and recover the money she took.

Hitchcock probably assumed the audience would feel that killing the main character again would make no sense or be too cruel to imagine – so he deliberately kills Arbogast the minute he enters Norman’s house. Two dramatic subtractions within a few minutes of each other – now that’s what I call real horror !

Now, SIT ideation workshops are obviously much more pleasant than a Hitchcock movie but I sometimes wonder if when I ask my clients to subtract the most essential components in their system they don’t think of me as murderous madman :) ….

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