In Conversation With… ‘A Dash Of Love’ Screenwriting Sisters Sandi & Judith Berg

A Dash of Love mixes up the restaurant romance recipe into a delicious Hallmark Channel “Countdown to Valentine’s Day” movie.

While most romance movies set in a restaurant tend to have two chefs, with different ways of cooking, thrown together and immediately at odds with one another until they begin to fall for each other towards the later half of the movie, this one is different. Nikki Turner (Jen Lilley) and Paul Dellucci (Brendan Penny) like each other from the beginning and spend the whole movie building on that, allowing the viewer to really see a romance blossom through the stages, which is a refreshing and loving take on the usual restaurant-themed romance.

To get the scoop on what it was like making this Valentine’s Day movie, Millennial Hallmarker interviewed (via email) two of the screenwriters behind the romance flick, sisters Sandi & Judith Berg.

Keep reading to find out what Sandi & Judith’s favorite scenes from A Dash of Love are, which Hallmark movie of theirs they’d like to make a sequel to, and what it’s like to be a part of the Hallmark family!

Millennial Hallmarker: What’s your favorite scene in your latest Hallmark Channel movie, A Dash of Love?

Sandi & Judith Berg: One of our favorites is the dance scene between Nikki and Paul outside the pop-up restaurant. We love the romantic atmosphere in that scene. Christie [Will], the director, really brought it to life. Not to mention the two stars have great on-screen chemistry. Another favorite scene is when Nikki is working at the restaurant late at night and thinks there is a prowler inside, so she picks up a heavy frying pan ready to defend herself.

MH: What was it like working with Jen Lilley and Brendan Penny?

S & J: We didn’t work with them since the movie filmed in Canada. However, we met them at the TCA press party and they are both so charming, funny, and genuinely nice people.

MH: Which one of your movies – Love on the Sidelines, Summer Love, or A Dash of Love – would you like to write a sequel to? What would happen?

S & J: Definitely “Love on the Sidelines” is perfect for a sequel. We even have a title, “Love and Marriage on the Sidelines,” as well as a cute story to follow up with those characters. As writers we’re ready with a story if anybody wants a sequel. Hallmark, are you listening? It could be a great June wedding movie.

MH: What’s the process like for writing a movie as a team? Who does what? How do you settle disputes?

S & J: As a team it’s sometimes harder because you both have to agree as opposed to working alone when there’s no one to challenge you and tell you a line stinks. Our process is that we talk everything out until we’re in agreement. On those rare instances where we don’t agree, whoever has the strongest argument, and convinces the other, wins. We prefer to write in longhand and once we’ve refined a scene to where we think it works we will then type it on our computers.

MH: Why did you want to work in this industry and how did you get started in it?

S & J: We are both life-long movie fans, we both love to write, so it seemed natural to collaborate and create scripts. Being sisters we’ve always been close, so our partnership fell into place quite naturally.

MH: What’s your advice for someone that wants to get in the TV movie-writing business?

S & J: Take courses in screenwriting – they are offered at so many places now – even online. It’s also important to read and study scripts to learn the craft. If it’s something you truly want to do just never give up. It doesn’t cost anything to write.

MH: At Millennial Hallmarker, we believe that TV movies aren’t a guilty pleasure, simply a pleasure. Do you believe that? What do you have to say to people who don’t understand why you would want to write a TV movie or watch one?

S & J: We were huge fans of Hallmark movies even before we starting working for the network. We never considered it a guilty pleasure. Where else can you watch entertaining, feel-good romantic comedies? Unfortunately the major studios aren’t making many (if any) for theatrical release, so it’s thrilling to be able to write in the genre we love and actually see these movies made.

MH: Is there anything else you’d like to add or tell fans about this movie, the cast, Hallmark Channel, or yourselves?

S & J: We feel fortunate to be part of the Hallmark family. We’ve been very lucky to work with smart executives, great producers, and some very talented actors. As writers it’s so rewarding to work with people who have a great respect for the craft and strive to produce quality movies that entertain.

We’re very proud of “A Dash of Love” and feel it has everything you could want for Valentine’s Day – food, humor, and of course, romance.

Be sure to catch Hallmark Channel’s new “Countdown to Valentine’s Day” movie A Dash of Love on Feb. 11 at 9/8c!

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