Screenwriting : How to write Hallmark movies. by Phillip "Le Raconteur" Hardy

Phillip "Le Raconteur" Hardy

How to write Hallmark movies.

Here's an article about a screenwriter who has made 8 Hallmark movies. Personally, I'd rather club baby seals or shoot myself in the foot, rather than write this kind of banal fluff. What say you? Do you aspire to write for the Hallmark Channel? 

Make your Hallmark: Bob Saenz's Journey from Pitch to TV Movies
Make your Hallmark: Bob Saenz's Journey from Pitch to TV Movies
Dan Goforth explores what it takes to hit the mark at the Hallmark Channel with screenwriter Bob Saenz. Click to tweet this interview to your friends and followers! In 2001, the Hallmark Channel was l…
David E. Gates

I heard one of the biggest sellers of books was romance a la Barbara Cartland or Mills & Boon style. Apparently, though I've never tried, they're very easy to write and almost always get published.Could be the same with this type of genre.

Dan MaxXx

I know Bob from Twitter world. He has always been generous with advice and a friend to Writers at every level, pro or amatuer. He's doin what everybody wants to do but can't - writes full time, makes decent coin (he's not a WGA member), and he's a Specialist at this genre.

Phillip "Le Raconteur" Hardy


I know of Mister Saenz from Facebook writing groups and my post interactions with him have been generally disagreeable. However, he does make money (I have no idea how much) as a writer and an actor, so I cannot fault him on that subject. However, I would never write Harlequin style romance novels or the kind of fluff porn screenplays that Hallmark churns out with formulaic plots. My wife loves and watches them regularly. The stories typically have an, attractive blonde woman in her mid-twenties to mid-thirties. They are always big city executives that have high-level work deadlines or career goals, who end up going back home to a small town and falling in love. And the B-story is some other alternative career endeavor, such as starting a new more life satisfying entrepreneurial business or saving a rundown hotel or restaurant. So in the realm of that world of entertainment, Mister Saenz is a mogul. Personally, I'd rather sell a script once in a while and make money selling real estate, which is what I'm do. At least I enjoy doing that.

Fiona Faith Ross

I read the article and I was tempted to have a go, but unfortunately I can't access the Hallmark channel in UK, so I can't watch their existing stuff to get a feel for the brand. I don't mind watching mainstream romance/comedy/rom-com but I prefer something edgier like ELF or YOU'VE GOT MAIL. So I think I'll stick to my natural style of writing (which dangles over the edge, even when it's comic) and join Uncle Phil on the next seal clubbing expedition.

Vic Burns


'Heather Overton, manager of original programming at Crown Media Family Networks, discusses the mission and story approach at the Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies and Mysteries.'

Doug Nelson

I worked (played around) on a few of those productions away back then. That's where a lot of new actors cut their teeth. I agree that the present Hallmark productions are pretty bainal but there is a market for it (my wife loves it). Those behemoth black & white camers of the era would flair out & burn for no apparent reason - but it was a fun education.

Vic Burns

I recently set myself a goal of writing something 'Hallmarky' and kinda got half way there -- whilst the language is sanitized and there is no peril on the page -- it's still nowhere near 'twee' enough.

Link to script below, if anyone cares to read:

Stephen Foster

great article.

Clark Ransom

How funny! My spouse has been watching these Hallmark movies for the last two weeks and loves them! Why? Because they are straight-forward, simple to understand, and no one is blowing anyone else up or facing another Dystopian future with Zombies. I actually made a comment just yesterday that perhaps I should look at writing for HM as well. Hey, if it sells and makes a buck, that's more than most of us on this site can claim on a regular basis.

David C. Velasco

Thanks for sharing Phillip. Great article. While I don't see myself writing those HEA movies (or books!) I did find good advice from Mr. Saenz about pitching: know your characters, know the network/prod company's brand, active listening.

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