Nicolas Cage: The Good, the Bad and the UX?

Is Nicolas Cage a good actor or a bad actor? This is the question that has plagued film studies students since time immemorial. It is their version of the Unified Field Theory. Their philosopher’s stone. Is he good or is he bad?

The evidence is contradictory. For every Leaving Las Vegas, there is a Ghost Rider. For every 8mm there is a Left Behind. In the now-classic action movie Face-Off he somehow manages to be both a good and bad actor depending upon which of the two characters he is playing.

If you ask showbiz industry insiders you will get lots of slightly sordid stories about Cage’s willingness to take on any job that has a decent paycheque, but that still doesn’t explain how an actor can go from making one set of sensible acting decisions on one set to chewing the scenery on the next. In fact Nicolas Cage’s career makes absolutely no sense whatsoever unless you apply a Design Thinking mindset.

Design Thinking is all about adaptation. It is about crafting a solution to the end user rather than expecting one size to fit all. And our boy Nic, he can look at each individual script that comes his way and calculate the correct response. He realizes that nothing he does is going to save some of these films from being terrible and then he churns out a performance so cataclysmically over the top that you forget the plot holes the size of the Grand Canyon.

Nicolas Genin ©

Nicolas Genin ©

Do you remember the bizarrely underdeveloped plot and setting of the Wickerman remake? No of course not, all you can remember is Cage screaming, “Not the bees!” at the top of his lungs. His performances might be ridiculous, bordering on hilarious, but are you not entertained?

There are always going to be parts of an experience that users won’t like. Not just pain points that a good designer can ease but fundamental elements like the need to take payment for a service. It is while struggling with these elements that good designers can turn to the patron saint of Adaptation, Nicolas Cage and look for ways to turn those problems into an advantage.

On the other hand some situations are going to be bad regardless of good design. There is no good way to bill someone for their medical expenses. There is no good way to inform them that their services are going to be cut off due to non-payment. But the goal of designing services with the end-user in mind is to make the parts of the experience that are inside your control as positive as they can be. Even if that means doing whatever the hell Nic was doing in, our personal favourite, Con Air.

Banner image Nicolas Genin ©

Communications Director

Sutherland Labs
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