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Netflix and Chill director and adman Michael Middelkoop on getting his meme-inspired movie crowdfunded

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By John McCarthy | Media editor

September 9, 2016 | 5 min read

'Netflix and chill' is a dizzyingly-popular meme, a millennial phenomena, for some a lifestyle, and a phrase solidifying the video-on-demand streaming company in the minds of millions (there's no 'Amazon Prime Video and Chill' for example).

It is apparently in use across the globe, having inspired an Airbnb apartment, Brexit campaign slogans, endless ‘ironic’ T-shirts, at least one music video, and an official acknowledgement in the name of a special Netflix and Chill button tutorial.

Netflix

Netflix and Chill

Now, however, Dutch creative and adman Michael Middelkoop will direct a horror-comedy movie based set around a couple Netflix and Chilling – predictably, it is titled 'Netflix and Chill'.

If you've been living in a cave without access to video on demand, Netflix and Chill is the act of getting snug with a potential mate on the couch (blanket-fort optional) in a bid to evolve your courtship to the next level, all while Netflix content sets the tone in the way a Barry White single would in decades past.

Director Michael Middelkoop told The Drum that he found a passion for video production shooting music videos in obscure Dutch neighbourhoods as a young man, editing the footage in his bedroom. These skills provided an obvious springboard into the advertising world, working at agencies Saatchi & Saatchi, Pool Worldwide, Happiness Brussels and ACHTUNG! and having a Cannes Lion award under his belt.

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Now he's keen to focus upon longer video content, specifically a movie which will portray the awkwardness of a Netflix and Chill session gone wrong.

Netflix and Chill

To get it primed for its 2017 release, Middelkoop has half funded the project through Dutch creative grants. He expects to crowdfund the remaining 50 per cent.

On writing the script, he said: "Netflix and Chill was one of those ideas I just started writing and thought what would be the worst possible night of Netflix and Chill you could possibly imagine? That ended up being the script."

The current advertising ecosystem, a diverse, multi-platform jungle where brands are experimenting with a plethora of new channels to reach the public, including, social media, VR, AR, gamification and more, has opened up a wealth of ways for creatives to express themselves. Milddelkoop (pictured below) said: "I believe that in advertising right now, creative work is really diverse, you gain inspiration from anything or anywhere. I think it is very important to being a creative today, you cannot just think in one type of media; be open for anything.

"Sometimes the idea can be a 30-second film, other times, a short movie, in this instance, it is Netflix and Chill."

Middelkoop

To bolster the movie’s international appeal, it will not feature any dialogue, a move which Middelkoop hopes will help it leapfrog the language barrier. Instead he hopes people of all nationalities will recognise the awkward silence that emits from a quickly deteriorating Netflix and Chill session.

On the marketing side, Middelkoop said the hard part was promoting the film without giving away too much of the story (assumedly there’s an M. Night Shamalan twist in there).

On the legal nuances involved in using the Netflix and Chill idiom, he said: “We’re not shy in saying we’re inspired by the meme and not necessarily the brand and we live in a world where brand names end up in the common language. ‘Let me just Google that,’ suddenly became a verb, when did that happen?

“I think in a way, brands need to embrace that that leads to new works being created. I do not want any trouble with them, it’s a bit of a fun and I hope they like it.”

Will people one day Netflix and Chill to a movie called Netflix and Chill? Time will tell… until then, below is the movie teaser (and the crowdfunder is here).

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