Screenwriting : Hallmark movies by Nancy Naigle

Hallmark movies

Hey y'all. Nancy Naigle here. I was asked to start this thread, and I'm looking forward to the discussion we'll have. I'm new at screenwriting, but I've written lots of novels. I've had the wonderful blessing to have three of my novels turned into Hallmark movies. A dream come true! It was such a wonderful learning experience to witness how a 90k novel gets transformed into a 110page/20k screenplay.

I'm so excited to be here to hone my screenwriting skills. Thanks for being part of my journey.

My experience having a novel get noticed by Crown Media was a real blessing. I'd told my agent that it was one of my goals, but she said it was a one in a million and not to get my hopes up. I was tweeting about a new Hallmark movie over the holidays and doing a watch party on my Facebook page. The twitter account for that movie sent tweeted me a thank you for helping build buzz about their movie. The next week I received a private message on twitter from them that read, "We didn't realize you're an author. Maybe someday one of your books will become a movie too." I responded with, "A girl can dream." Well, a week later my agent received a call from Crown Media asking for the Christmas Joy manuscript. It hadn't even been edited yet, although I'd turned it in 7 months prior. We rushed my editor at St. Martin's Press so we could get the ms in shape to send on. It was optioned a couple months later. The following year one a member of the Crown Media production team stumbled across the same novel on the front table at Barnes & Noble and fell in love with it. She didn't even know it had already been optioned. It was put into production on Valentine's Day, which happens to be my new favorite holiday lol.

I've been on set, talked with directors and film team and what an amazing leaning ground. Film is so different from writing a novel. I've been having so much fun learning the new craft.

My next goal is to get one of my screenplays bought.

Hugs and happy writing,


Erick Freitas

My wife loves Hallmark movies, that's so cool!

Daly Joachim

Hey congratulations, i want to write some Hallmark movies too, how do i get started?

Nancy Naigle

Hi, Meg. My novels that have been movies so far were all optioned/produced from the novels. Christmas Joy and Hope at Christmas were published by St. Martin's Press. The Secret Ingredient I wrote for Hallmark Publishing. It was released in paperback, ebook and was their first audiobook and their first Hallmark Original movie.

Being on set and going through the novel to screenplay process was a wonderful education. I also wrote three novels from the screenplays of all of the Christmas in Evergreen movies for Hallmark. So I've had six awesome real-life lessons that have been a great education, but you're right it is so different! I know exactly why novels and their movie adaptations end up different. It's impossible to force an entire 90k novel into a 20k screenplay! It's a great lesson in paring down to the critical few and letting the visual do the work. It's a challenge, but a wonderful one. I'm really enjoying the screenwriting process.

Nancy Naigle

Hi, Daly Joachim. I wish I had a recipe. I don't. My writing has been a long list of blessings and lucky timing. You just never know when those doors will open so be ready. Write your best stories, be it a manuscript or screenplay. The Hallmark Publishing pipeline was supposed to be a conduit for their films, but that hasn't really proven to be the case yet. There's only been a couple of their books made into movies so far, but that's an option to get in front of them.

No matter how you get the story in front of them, Hallmark really isn't looking for something totally different. Watch their films. Know their brand. Don't try pushing the envelope. The stories need to be heartwarming and fresh. But honestly, in my opinion, they want more of the same, with a twist. They know their viewers so well. The conflict has to be very light. If you're writing a Christmas story you can't break the myth of Santa, and you'll increase your chances if you have a snowy setting. Hallmark is an absolute delight to work with.

Best wishes.

Daisy White

Congratulations that's brilliant!

Bill Costantini

Hi Nancy,

That is so cool for you in the way that all happened. Thanks for the share!

Much continued success in your creative endeavors, Nancy, and stay safe!

Dan Guardino

Nancy. Congrats on your success. I have adapted 12 novels and sometimes they can be challenging and even grueling but I like adapting them. Best of luck with your screenwriting career.

Nancy Naigle

Thanks for the best wishes, Dan Guardino. It's definitely a different mindset. I look forward to connecting here on Stage32

Stefano Pavone

Welcome to the club. :)

Dan Guardino

Meg. I think there are a few screenwriters here who have adapted their own novels. I am not one of them. All the novels I adapted where written by several different authors. I just posted one of the first ones I adapted a long time ago. I optioned it to a production company a long time ago and it died in development hell. The owner of the company was a well-known actor but unfortunately his company went bankrupt.

Dan Guardino

Meg. Click on my name. scroll down until you see Loglines. Click on GLASS HOUSE. Scroll down to View Screenplay and click on that. It will download in a pdf. Or you can email me at and I will send you a copy of it.

John Antony Dunne

Congratulations Nancy. I have the interest of Emmy award winning producer Alex Greene that is interested in turning my Book POL-FORCE into a TV show. and I am also working on a Fantasy Adventure called Legend of the Erundohls. which is going to be epic like L:ord of the rings I hope. and Harry Potter.

Other topics in Screenwriting:

register for stage 32 Register / Log In