Interview With Screenwriter Julie Sherman Wolfe, “Finding Santa”

By Ruth on November 23, 2017 in Interview, movie, television
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As much as I adore interviewing actors, directors, etc., I must admit that I have a passionate affinity for interviewing writers, and featuring them is always a highlight for me (why else do I almost always ask actors if they are writing anything?). Julie Sherman Wolfe is one whom I have had the honor of interviewing twice previously, and since her new Hallmark movie premieres tomorrow night (November 24th), I am so glad she took a few moments from her Disney vacation to answer a few brief questions about this movie and the current direction of her career (and life!). 

RH: You recently moved from California to Connecticut. Does the locale help you when writing Hallmark movies?

JSW: For years, I set almost every script in New England, and now that I’m actually there, it’s even more fun to write! There is something so magical about a small-town main street! I’m so lucky that now I get to experience that every single day — not just in my imagination, but in real life.

Since we last spoke, you have written three screenplays that have been officially made into films. Did you visit the sets of any of these?

With the move cross-country, I wasn’t able to visit any sets this year. I love going, and looks like this year we might shoot in Toronto a couple times… I’ll definitely be going. I think it’s important to be on set as much as possible because sometimes when you’re in your office writing day in and day out, it’s
easy to forget what it’s all about… and how magical it is on set to see your words come to life.

Brendan Penny; Tegan Moss; Marcus Rosner Credit: Copyright 2017 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Bettina Strauss

Summer in the Vineyard had something very special in it for Marcus Rosner. What was that like to fulfill a promise to him you had made earlier in the year?

Marcus’s character did not get the girl in Birthday Wish, so I promised him the next time I wrote a script that he was in, he would get the girl… and in Summer, he finally did!

Marry Me At Christmas kicked off the entire Christmas season on Hallmark this year. Any scenes that turned out even better than you thought they would? What was one of the most difficult parts of turning that book into a film?

I loved every moment of the coffee-house scene when Johnny and Maddie first meet. The scene went from funny to serious back to funny, and the actors all killed it! It’s always harder adapting a book. The book was wonderful, but for movies, we don’t have the luxury of hearing someone’s inner thoughts. The challenge is writing dialogue that lets the actors show us how they’re feeling without resorting to voiceover.

Finding Santa is coming up on Friday (November 24th). What can you tell us about this movie without spoiling it?

This was my original idea that started when Hallmark asked for a fun “road trip” movie. I have a soft spot for parades so I tried to find a way to have a parade and a road trip in the same movie. And in Finding Santa, we have that! David Winning was an incredible director… it looks gorgeous. And the entire cast shines as well.

:Jodie Sweetin, Eric Winter Credit: Copyright 2017 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Ryan Plummer

Any “Easter Eggs” in Finding Santa?

I tried to find a natural place for Jodie {Sweetin} to say “How rude!” but it seemed too forced. I do tend to put personal stuff in here and there. My secret “Christmas Shame” is that I hate chestnuts… and I put that in. Hope it made the final cut!

Any other upcoming works you can mention?

Hmmm… I don’t want to get in trouble with the boss so I’ll be annoyingly vague: I am currently writing movies about food, a ranch, a reunion and a wedding. 🙂

Because you regularly interact with the fans, does that help you in your writing of these screenplays? How?

It’s invaluable to see what Hallmark fans respond to, both positive and negative. I’m constantly thinking about the audience as I write and am incredibly grateful for the support of the Hallmarkies!

Is it a help or a hindrance to have another writer (your husband) in the house?

A definite help! He’s great with story and is my go-to guy to talk through the story if I have written myself into a corner.

Jodie Sweetin, Eric Winter Credit: Copyright 2017 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Ryan Plummer

Do you think you and your husband will ever collaborate on something? Why or why not? What about your kids? Any potential writers?

Greg and I are great at reading each other’s work and offering suggestions, but if we tried to write together, I think we would kill each other within minutes! Lol!

As far as our son, I’ll go full Proud Mom here… he has already (at the age of eight) won numerous awards for his writing! We don’t want him to feel like he HAS to follow in our footsteps, but it seems like it’s in his DNA ☺

When you experience “writer’s block” or whatever you would like to call it, what do you do to get your inspiration back?

The truth is I don’t have the luxury of “Writers Block.” It’s painful to sit there and not know what to write, but if you stick it out and stay at the keyboard, it eventually comes. My biggest problem is staying off social media when I’m supposed to be working, so I use the “self-control” app which basically makes it impossible to get online and goof off on Facebook. Or shop. Or check the weather, etc.

When it comes to screenwriters, Julie will always hold a very special place in my heart. While I had spoken with other writers before I chatted with her the first time, she is the one who has shared countless things concerning the inner workings of the business of screenwriting, and through her eyes, I am able to view movies with a different lens. In fact, being quite forthright, I am convinced that she is the one who (unbeknownst to her) planted the seed deep within me that now is beginning to grow in the direction of writing a screenplay myself. Whenever I see Julie’s name on any work, I know I can rest assured that the writing will be exceptional, and hopefully, the production value will follow suit. And seriously speaking, it almost always does.

Therefore, if you are near a television set tomorrow evening (November 24) or if you have the ability to set your DVR, please tune to the Hallmark Channel and watch the premiere of Finding Santa which features a veritable feast of fantastic actors. Similarly, it is directed by one of my all-time favorite directors and it is penned by a screenwriter who is a foremost member of my top five preferred screenwriters. Moreover, in my humble opinion, Hallmark is immensely blessed that Julie has chosen to write multitudinous works for this network as she is so undeniably gifted that she could probably work for just about any network she fancied! (Okay, I know, I’m biased, but I still stand by my statement.) I would also invite everyone to follow Julie at all her links listed below because when it comes to screenwriters, she is one of the most interactive ones I have ever encountered. While I know she never seeks adulation nor glory, she is genuinely and deeply appreciative of all the support the fans have given her over the years, and I can hardly wait to see the fruit of her labors on my television screen in 2018 and beyond!

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About the Author

RuthView all posts by Ruth

43-year-old single mother of an active 14-year-old girl
Born in Tacoma, WA; lives in Yelm, WA
Entertainment Writer
Available For Interviews and Reviews
Substitute Teacher

5 Comments

  1. Linda Manns Linneman November 24, 2017 Reply

    I love the small town books. They just take you to a special place. I can’t wait to see this movie tonight. Hallmark is a great channel. Thank you for sharing this writer. God Bless

    • Author
      Ruth November 24, 2017 Reply

      Linda I agree completely & I’m looking forward to seeing this movie too!

  2. Net November 24, 2017 Reply

    This is such a fantastic interview, ladies! I thoroughly enjoyed all of it! I know you have interviewed Julie more than once, Ruth… and I always love hearing from her and getting her movie perspective! (I was also quite blessed to interview her once – what a genuinely sweet person she is! Immediately, I felt her warmth & kindness. I am so grateful to have had that opportunity to talk with her personally!)

    I must say… “Marry Me at Christmas” is, by far, one of my absolute favorites this year! I can’t wait to see “Finding Santa” now! All the previews look so fun – just like Julie, herself!

    Thank you, Ruth, for sharing this… and all the countless hours you take to put all of these incredible interviews together! You’re truly amazing & gifted at what you do!!! 🙂

    Happy Thanksgiving Weekend & Merry Christmas!!! Many Blessings!!! Net
    Net recently posted…BLACK FRIDAY is HERE – – – Time to get CHRISTMAS Shopping!My Profile

  3. denise November 25, 2017 Reply

    I hope to catch this movie in a re-airing. I missed it due to decorating at the hospital.

    • Author
      Ruth November 26, 2017 Reply

      Oh, you’ll see it for sure. It was so cute!

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