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Production Checklist for Hallmark Movies
March 17, 2019  | By Eric Gould  | 8 comments

Hallmark Channel is now airing their “Spring Fever” run of new romantic comedies now through April. After an escapist binge, TVWW's Eric Gould has imagined the memo that has gone out, entitled “Production Checklist for Hallmark Movies.“ (Michael Rady and Hallmark regular Nikki DeLoach in the upcoming Love to the Rescue, top.)

  1. Set story in an idyllic, opioid-free small town with well-maintained storefronts and readily available parking.
  2. Budget one drone shot to show town is countrified and safely isolated from large cities and populations.
  3. Cast attractive Northern European leads, with soap opera-level dental work.
  4.  Schedule shoots for fall with outdoor locations at farmer markets, antique shows, etc.
  5. Cast plenty of smiling extras milling around above outdoor locations, appearing equally as content to be living in a crime-free exurbia with ample parking.
  6. Female leads shall be named Lacey, Lindsey, Poppy, etc.
  7. Female leads shall be schoolteachers, realtors, chefs, daunted daughters taking over a family business, etc.
  8. Male leads are preferred to be architects.
  9. Memo to wardrobe: female leads shall have ample supplies of Target-casual waist jackets, scarves, and jeans with knee-high boots.
  10. Note to stylists: character’s living rooms to be tastefully furnished in relatable schemes now trending on Wayfair.
  11. Note to writers: Leads with children are to be Disney-fied, wistfully widowed, with deaths having occurred off-camera, many years ago.
  12. Preteen children are smiling, cooperative and fully adult-capable of reading their parents' most complex emotions accurately.
  13. Dramatic arcs shall not skew more serious than a planned festival, community fundraiser or small business going awry.
  14. Family and friends around the unaware heterosexual couple-to-be are to clearly see the impending pairing, while the couple themselves shall be oblivious.
  15. Musical directors shall insert plucky harps and violin at tittering comic junctures, as mainstream rom-com scatology is banned.
  16. The will-they-or-won’t-they-of-course-they-will may only proceed after a frosty first encounter followed by a what-are-the-chances second mishap at the local cheese shop. These shall be accompanied by plucking violins.
  17. Leading characters shall be ardently positive, letting disappointments pass with momentary furrowed brows or askance glances, never deepening to anything approaching bitterness, anger, depression or the throwing of objects.
  18. Villains are to be treated cordially, invited to upcoming events, displaying characters' superior control of emotions and their healthy sense of self-worth.
  19. Pencil in one aborted first kiss while leads claim they haven’t been with anyone in a long time.
  20. The closing scene – which shall bring the first, soft, romantic kiss with hands on upper arms in a light embrace – the camera recedes, music swells, and the male audience realizes the true difference between themselves and women: the money-shot for suburban females after a 90 minute build, is a meaningful kiss and not the one at the end of a three-minute Pornhub clip.
  21. Cue audience's shame at their featherweight escapism and their slim hopes that these worlds truly await.
  22. Tilt camera skywards, crescendo, roll credits.
  23. Repeat for next week's premiere.
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Jan 5, 2023   |  Reply
Marion Bertel
I enjoy being able to watch something that does not contain violence, child abuse, or anything ugly. It's like taking a refreshing break from all the dark stuff.
Mar 28, 2019   |  Reply
Jon Delfin
5a Don't let the extras talk, lest they be eligible to be paid more. Ignore the eerie ambiance that is thus created.
11a Writers must make the characters speak in ways that no real person ever speaks, and make explicit any underlying motivations or back-stories.
19a Sometime after the aborted first kiss, insert the "Monkey Wrench Moment" (my coinage), where one lead overhears the other say something, and rather than ask about it, first lead assumes the relationship is doomed. If the movie starts at 9:00, the MWM should occur at 10:35.
Mar 20, 2019   |  Reply
Matt A.
Thank you, Eric. That was/is spot on
Mar 18, 2019   |  Reply
Any word that the Lori Loughlin Marathon will be replaced by Mama June In Jail?
Mar 18, 2019   |  Reply
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