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If you love Christmas movies as much as candy canes and baked cookies, you'll love this

I love television Christmas movies, cheery 90-minute productions where cookies are always in the oven, mugs of hot chocolate plentiful on the counter, small town celebrations every other day. More festive than tinsel itself, I cannot get enough of them. When Fred Olen Ray's book, Writing the Perfect Christmas Movie, appeared in my inbox I could not resist, jumped at the first chance I got.

Ray is no stranger to the industry of televising Christmas charm, in the space of ten years he has written fifteen Christmas films for television and directed several more. Having spent time with aspirational hopefuls wishing to break into the industry, Ray's guide pitches itself as a one-stop shop for any budding scriptwriters of the genre with chapters that are intended to be all inclusive of the various considerations that need to be made when putting pen to paper. From story and act structure to considerations around budgets and casting and, the all important question, how Christmassy is too Christmassy? (In the world of festive films? It transpires there is no such thing.) In a short space of time Ray does an excellent job and condensing a genre and getting the main points across professionally and informally. You get a real sense of this being an author who genuinely wants to help others break into the industry.

Ray's approach to producing this guide is consistent with an experienced professional; recounting past projects and how to avoid potential pitfalls with each approach. It is almost semi-autobiographic, from a place of passing on experience as opposed to providing a line-by-line tutorial of scriptwriting. There is a general expectation here that you can already write screenplays. To this end, Writing the Perfect Christmas Movie could be more likened to the Masterclass brand of video tutorials and may therefore cause disappointment to those hoping to see annotated case studies of previous scripts.

A choice purchase for those who is actively trying to pursue a career in scriptwriting whilst also sitting comfortably as my recommendation to any festive film-fans, Writing the Perfect Christmas Movie offers a rare peak under the covers of what makes the seasonal film genre tick.

AEB Reviews

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I've been blogging since 2014, showcasing the best hidden gems in publishing on my website.


About the author

Fred Olen Ray is an Emmy Award winning filmmaker with over one hundred and fifty motion picture and television productions to his credit. He has written, produced and/or directed over thirty-five Made-for-TV movies for Lifetime, the Oprah Winfrey Network and the ION Channel. view profile

Published on July 18, 2022

30000 words

Genre: Writing & Publishing

Reviewed by