Making It As A Hallmark Star Is A Lot Harder Than You Think

Have you ever wondered what it takes to star in Hallmark movies? Sure, you need talent and a bit of luck, but that's not enough to land you a role or drive your acting career forward. "There have been a lot of actors over the years who come in, do one movie, and don't come back because they don't quite get it," Paul Campbell told Vulture.

The Canadian actor has played in several Hallmark movies, including the popular "Sun, Sand & Romance" and "Christmas by Starlight," and, as he points out, such movies are more complex than they seem. "They're hard to write, they're hard to act, and they're hard to create the feeling over and over again that everyone tunes in for," Campbell explained. Actors must truly get into the role and become one with the character they are portraying. While this goes for any movie, Hallmark productions have a unique feel to them, which makes everything a lot more difficult.

The network also has strict rules for its staff, and that's actually one of the reasons Hilarie Burton, Lori Loughlin, and other stars left the Hallmark Channel. For example, Loughlin was forced to seek work somewhere following a college admissions scandal in 2019. Additionally, actors are not allowed to use certain words or get drunk on set. "They don't want anything to offend anyone. It's comfort food, and I guess a lot of people like that nothing is going to rattle them," one screenwriter told Entertainment Weekly

What it's really like to star in a Hallmark movie

Hallmark movies have a warm, cozy feeling to them, leaving us dreaming of a perfect life, a perfect romance, and a perfect home. They may seem cheesy and predictable, but sometimes, that's exactly what we need — a story that reminds us that dreams can come true. None of this would be possible without the hard work of our favorite Hallmark actors.

Amanda Garrity, a lifestyle writer at Good Housekeeping, got the chance to star as an extra in "Christmas Town." That day, she had a candid conversation with actress Candace Cameron Bure, who told her, "This is definitely some of the hardest work that I do because it's such a grind: long hours, quick turnaround, putting on your happy face every day, and going out there to make Christmas happen." Bure also said that making the movies is more difficult than shooting a series like "Fuller House" because they need to have that feel-good vibe Hallmark is known for.

Despite these challenges, most actors agree that starring in Hallmark movies can be a fantastic experience. The "Christmas for Keeps" star Cardi Wong says that after joining the network, he felt like he was part of something special. "It's so fun, and you see the same people, the same crew, and everything," Wong confessed to Vancouver Is Awesome. On a similar note, "Sweet Carolina" actress Donna Benedicto takes pride in her work and feels grateful for every role she gets.

Talent alone isn't enough to become a Hallmark star

Casting director and producer Penny Perry told Backstage that talent alone isn't enough to land a role in a Hallmark Channel movie. "In general, it has a lot to do with chemistry, screen presence, and image," she explains. Perry also points out that each project has different requirements, and you can't be a perfect match for every single film or series.

The casting process for Hallmark Channel is pretty standard. First, you'll join a talent agency and submit your resume along with professional photos. After that, you can either apply for gigs or wait for your agent to reach out when a suitable role comes up. For example, AllCasting and Backstage feature open auditions year-round. "The consistent considerations are experience, suitability for the role, and cost," according to Perry.

"Christmas at the Plaza" star Ryan Paevey recommends that aspiring actors fully embrace their emotions and allow others to see them. Simply put, show your human side to give the character a sense of authenticity. "I am very grateful to have undergone such a journey," Paevey told Digital Journal. The actor also says being part of the Hallmark family gives him a sense of belonging, which can be invaluable given the uncertainty faced by most actors. Though it takes a lot of work to make it as a Hallmark star, it's worthwhile and could enrich your life and career.