There’s nothing better than getting to open up a present earlier than expected. That’s exactly what Hallmark Channel’s Christmas in July programming event feels like because we get to watch new Christmas films SIX MONTHS before the actualy holiday. It’s the cure to our Christmas withdrawals.
Speaking of cures, one of the doses of Christmas movie medicine we’re recieving is tonight’s (July 15) premiere of The Christmas Cure, written by the fabulous Marcy Holland and starring the talented Brooke Nevin and Steve Beyers.
To get the full scoop on this new Christmas film, Millennial Hallmarker caught up with Marcy (via email) to chat about writing holiday movies, working with Hallmark, and which of her TV movies she’d love to make a sequel to!
Millennial: You’ve written a bunch of TV movies, with your first one being the hit Sexting in Suburbia, how did you get your start in screenwriting?
Marcy: After film school, I spent a few years writing specs and developing projects that fizzled out. I was incredibly grateful to Lifetime and the producers of “Sexting in Suburbia” when they brought me on and gave me my first real shot.
Millennial: Most of your TV movies have been thrillers with only a couple being romance, which do you prefer to write?
Marcy: I read a lot of romance and I’m obsessed with true crime podcasts like “My Favorite Murder.” So I love that I get to do both.
Millennial: Also, most of your movies are Lifetime movies, how does it feel to have written a movie that is going to premiere on Hallmark Channel? Is there a difference to you where your movies air?
Marcy: I’m really excited to have a movie on Hallmark. Especially a Christmas one. I had my ringtone set to Jingle Bells while I was writing in April. But both networks have been dream jobs.
Millennial: Your upcoming TV movie, The Christmas Cure, premieres on Hallmark on July 15th. What’s your favorite quote from the movie? Favorite scene?
Marcy: My favorite scene is kind of a spoiler… but I will say that it involves a Young Adult book series that gets referenced throughout the movie.
Millennial: Writers aren’t usually involved in casting, so how did you like the casting in this movie of Brooke Nevin and Steve Beyers?
Marcy: I think they’re perfect for the roles. These movies really rely on the chemistry of your leads. Brooke and Steve have a great dynamic.
Millennial: Did you know going into this that this Christmas film would premiere in July instead of December? What are your thoughts on Hallmark’s Christmas in July programming event?
Marcy: I found out right before I went to script. I think the Christmas in July event is a fantastic idea. And I know that Hallmark fans look forward to it.
Millennial: Did you come up with this story and write it, or were you given the plot and asked to write the script? Which of those is usually the case with the movies you’ve written?
Marcy: There was a one page summary when I came onboard. A lot of the big story points were there.
I’ve entered projects at all different stages – sometimes there is a single logline. Sometimes there is a full outline. Sometimes there is an entire script that needs to be rewritten.
Millennial: How do you come up with your storylines? Do you ever get stuck? If so, how do you deal with writer’s block?
Marcy: I make iPod playlists and walk with a notebook. I try to play out the movie in my head, and scratch down notes as a go.
The best way to deal with writer’s block is to have structure. I break work into daily page count goals. And I do timed writing sprints multiple times a day. Writer’s block comes from being away from the page too long – just keep moving.
Millennial: Which of your movies would you most want to write a sequel to? What would happen in the sequel?
Marcy: “Last Hours in Suburbia.” It’s about two best friends but takes place after one of them has died. I’d write a prequel about their misadventures together.
Millennial: Were you able to visit any of the movie sets for the movies you’ve written? If so, which ones? Which of the movies’ stars did you get to meet and what was it like to see them bring your characters to life?
Marcy: I’ve visited three (“Sexting in Suburbia,” “Last Hours in Suburbia,” and “The House Sitter”). It’s really exciting to watch the actors take creative chances and make a scene much better.
Millennial: I just wanted to say thank you for writing Lifetime’s film, Christmas on the Bayou, which brought together two former One Tree Hill stars, Hilarie Burton and Tyler Hilton. Had you ever watched them on the series? Would you ever want to write a sequel and what do you think would happen with these two?
Marcy: That reunion was really fun to stage. I’m glad so many people seemed to enjoy it. As for a sequel – I’d probably set it at their wedding, and introduce two new characters to fall in love.
Millennial: Had you watched a lot of TV movies prior to writing them? What’s your all-time favorite TV movie and why?
Marcy: I watch a ton of made-for-tv movies. Lifetime. Hallmark. SyFy. Disney.
My favorite TV movie of all time is probably “A Diva’s Christmas Carol” with Vanessa Williams. Super funny and has excellent music.
I also have a lot of affection for those 90s Disney movies like “Brink” and “Horse Sense.”
Millennial: What can you tell me about your upcoming films, Mississippi River Sharks, Spruces and Pines, and Fan Girl?
Marcy: “Mississippi River Sharks” is part of SyFy’s Sharknado week. A bunch of the “Ozark Sharks” team got back together for it. Sharks attack a fishing tournament on the Mississippi and everything goes sideways.
“Spruces and Pines” is a Romeo and Juliet story set on rival Christmas tree farms. We filmed on actual Christmas tree farms in Massachusetts, so the locations are really beautiful. And festive!
“Fan Girl” is a psychological thriller about an author and her fan. Lots of twists and turns.
Millennial: What are you working on now? Are you currently writing any other movies or possibly shows?
Marcy: I’m finishing up rewrites on a project that starts filming soon. I can’t say too much more about it yet.
Millennial: What’s your advice for someone that wants to get in the screenwriting business?
Marcy: Embrace collaboration.
Millennial: 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?
Marcy: Don’t feel guilty. Find people who like the same things. Be best friends.
Millennial: Is there anything else you’d like to add or tell fans about your movie, the cast, Hallmark Channel, or yourself?
Marcy: I hope everyone enjoys “The Christmas Cure!” If you have twitter you can follow me @hollandnotes. I’ll be tweeting during the show.
The Christmas Cure premieres on Hallmark Channel tonight, July 15, at 9pm!