Thursday, December 14, 2023

Females in Entertainment: Meet Karen Schaler - Writer of Christmas Movies - Learn How She Got Started and Why She Loves it - You Can Also Meet her at her Online Christmas Camp for Aspiring Writers This Month

By Suzanne Ordas Curry

For many, Karen Schaler has a dream job! She writes Christmas movies.. including the ones we especially love... you know.. the ones with Royals in them. Do we ever tire of watching a commoner fall in love with a Royal?

Karen Schaler is an Emmy-winning writer, novelist, journalist and more. She has movies on Hallmark, Lifetime and Netflix. She in known for A Christmas Prince trilogy on Netflix, Christmas Camp, Rediscovering Christmas and her newest Every Day is Christmas. She also runs workshops to help inspire new writers to create these joyful movies. We were honored to get to know her and find out how she got started, what inspires her and how we can get started on a journey like hers.

Suzee: Did you want to be a writer when you were a little girl?
Karen Schaler: My mom likes to say that when I started talking I started telling stories and never stopped. From making stories up about the people around me everywhere we went, to my stuffed animals having starring roles in my stories, I’ve always loved storytelling. 

When I was eight my grandparents moved to Mexico for part of the year and my grandma basically bribed me that if I wrote her letters she’d send me back little Mexican tin Christmas ornaments in her letters. I loved those ornaments so much I wrote letters all the time. I also started a “diary” detailing all the days events, my hopes, my dreams,  when I was in third grade and continued writing in journals most of my adult life. Honestly, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write from fictional stories, to poetry, to journalism, writing is in my blood and bones. 

Suzee: What is the first story you ever wrote and at what age? 

Karen Schaler: Because of the above I honestly don’t remember my first, there were so many, and they were non-stop. 

Suzee: When did you decide to write your first Christmas script?
Karen Schaler: In my journalism career as a three time Emmy Award-winning TV correspondent I was an investigative and crime reporter, and a war correspondent. I was the first journalist in the world ever embedded with troops in Bosnia and the first embedded with an Apache Helicopter combat unit in Afghanistan. I had two escapes from the gut-wrenching stories I told every day. 

One, was travel. When I took time off I would use what I now call and have trademarked “Travel Therapy®” to help me heal emotionally and physically by traveling to the right place based on what I was going through in life. After my work in Afghanistan I left my TV career to start doing my Travel Therapy TV ( segments that continue to air nationally on top TV and streaming networks.  

My second therapy was watching feel good uplifting movies on Hallmark. I always thought someday I wanted to give back and write my own movie to share. It was when I had to get a surgery and couldn’t travel for my TV show for two weeks at Christmas that I finally had the time and decided I’d write a Hallmark-style romantic comedy movie. 
Suzee: How did you end up getting it to be made into a movie?
Karen Schaler: The first movie I wrote wasn’t a Christmas movie. It was already almost Christmas and since I wanted to sell it I decided to write a summer rom-com. I watched all the Hallmark movies I could to study the “formula” and wrote down the production companies that made the movies most like mine, and that I liked the most. 

I then reached out to the head of the companies to see if my movie was a fit for them. When I found someone interested they said they wanted to option the script but asked if I had a Christmas script with a royal theme because they didn’t have one of those right away to pitch Hallmark. So, I wrote one in a week and that’s the movie that became Netflix’s first original Christmas movie A Christmas Prince that was a huge hit and started the trilogy! 

As soon as I finished that script I wrote two more in the next few months and got a publishing deal where I could turn my movies into novels with HarperCollins, and the rest, as they say, is history where I ended up having four movies and three novels in 18-months. 

Suzee: Tell me more about your Christmas Camp that is happening this month.

Karen Schaler: I’ll be talking a lot more about the whole process and sharing my insider tips and tricks and showing writers how they can do the same things I did without an agent or manager in Karen Schaler’s Christmas Camp for Writers where I’ve partnered with the amazing Story Summit. It’s going to be so much festive fun, uplifting, and empowering. 

It’s over two-hours, on two nights, online so everyone can join on December 19th & 20th, 2023. If you can’t join us live you can catch the recording after. And an early Christmas gift you can use the special discount code “Karen” for 60% off making it just $99 for BOTH nights. This also includes everyone getting two free Christmas Camp gifts and so many holiday giveaways. We even have a very special surprise guest! 

I’m also bringing my Christmas Camp Hallmark movie and novels to life creating real-life Christmas Camps for grownups at resorts and hotels around the world where you feel like you’re living in your own Christmas movie!

Suzee: I understand you have some free stuff!
Karen Schaler: You can sign up for my VIP newsletter to get the latest including the best early deals, discounts, and details. In case you can’t come to one of my events you can  download your own free DIY Christmas Camp Guide that includes delicious Christmas recipes and holiday activities from all my movies and novels!
Suzee: What advice to you have for inspiring writers (in addition to your class of course!)
Karen Schaler: I love sharing my own personal stories hoping they help inspire and empower other writers to follow their calling and their dreams and share their stories, because we need them. Write the stories you’re passionate about, that you have an authentic personal connection to, because those are the stories that will make a difference. 

Storytelling is subjective. When you’re trying to sell your story buyers will constantly tell you no. It doesn’t mean you’re not good at what you do. It means you haven’t found the right people to connect with your story. Use every rejection as your fuel to propel you forward. When one door closes, jump through the window. Be tenacious. Surround yourself  with people who believe in you and uplift you. Learn from people who have actually done what you’re trying to do. That’s what I love about Story Summit. 

"Use every rejection as your fuel to propel you forward." - Karen Schaler

The instructors have all done what they’re teaching so you’re getting real-life examples and real-time information to help you with your own career. Lastly, remember you’ve been given the gift of being a storyteller. No one can take that away from you. Like I saw in all my stories, “If you believe, anything is possible at Christmas,” and beyond. 
Suzee: Your Top Five Christmas movies
Karen Schaler: This is impossible as it changes constantly. I love so many! But here are some of my classic favorites right now. 
·      Miracle on 34th Street
·      It’s a Wonderful Life
·      Love Actually
·      The Holiday
·      How the Grinch Stole Christmas 
For television I truly loved Schitt’s Creek episode Merry Christmas, Johnny Rose because it showed even with a brilliant comedy like this you can honor the true meaning of Christmas and remind people of what truly matters most at Christmas and always. 

To Connect with Karen:

Emmy Award-Winning Writer
Movies | TV | Novels | Audio