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How to Write a Hallmark Christmas Movie

More people than you might think have spent the past month indulging in Hallmark Christmas movies. They are comforting, nostalgic, non-threatening, and always have a happy ending. A typical plot involves a woman who returns to her hometown for the holidays, meets a wonderful down-to-earth man, and finds that real happiness is found in the simple things. Add snow and cookies, and you have a Hallmark Christmas movie! The network offers 37 new Christmas movies this year, so you may have wondered who writes all those. Entertainment Weekly talked to two anonymous people who have written such TV movies about the process. There are rules, and the first one is that everything in the movie must involve Christmas.

Right, there cannot be a single scene that does not acknowledge the theme. Well, maybe a scene, but you can’t have a single act that doesn’t acknowledge it and there are nine of them, so there’s lots of opportunities for Christmas. They have a really rigid nine-act structure that makes writing them a lot of fun because it’s almost like an exercise. You know where you have to get to: People have to be kissing for the first time, probably in some sort of a Christmas setting, probably with snow falling from the sky, probably with a small crowd watching. You have to start with two people who, for whatever reason, don’t like each other and you’re just maneuvering through those nine acts to get them to that kiss in the snow.

Once you think you can tackle the job, check out Hallmark's submission guidelines. Good luck! -via Metafilter


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