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For Memphian Skyy Blair, writing for Hallmark is a bucket-list check

by Florence M. Howard —

“Writing for Hallmark was on my writer bucket list,” said Memphis screenwriter April “Skyy” Blair, whose first film – “Magic in Mistletoe” – debuts on the Hallmark Channel amid the holiday season.

“Magic in Mistletoe” airs tonight (December 8) at 7 (CST). The premiere can be streamed live on Sling, Peacock and any live TV streamers that include the Hallmark Channel.

In an interview on Tuesday with The Tri-State Defender, Blair, a native Memphian and a Class of 2000 graduate of Middle College High School, shared how she landed in a position to put a check by Hallmark on her bucket list.

After a general meeting with the network, Hallmark invited her to pitch a holiday film. The result was “Magic in Mistletoe,” the first film she has ever written.

One thing for certain, Blair’s script will have positive people, two of whom will fall in love. There will be a happy ending because, as she says and we know, “Hallmark movies always have a happy ending.”

Blair says Hallmark films are an escape.

“People complain about the film plots being similar, but that’s what I think makes them so wonderful to millions,” she said. “You can watch a Hallmark film and know that there will be a happy ending, love will be found in the end. And sometimes it’s fun to just sit back and enjoy something simple, heartfelt, and loving.”

Blair grew up watching old movies, like those featuring Gene Kelly and Dorothy Dandridge, and TV shows such as “A Different World.” She began writing books around the age of 19 or 20. Her professional writing career began in 2007 with the book “Choices,” which tells the story of four friends, who lean on each other during their days at Freedom University.

In 2018, Blair submitted a script for the Script to Screen Competition – a partnership between Issa Rae’s ColorCreative and BET Network – that was hosted by the American Black Film Festival (ABFF). The competition was designed to give “one emerging and diverse writer with an original comedy or drama pilot script the potential opportunity to have their script produced for the small screen.”

More than 1500 entries were received. Blair’s original script – “CURVES” – was chosen. With the win, BET and ColorCreative worked together to produce the pilot for “Curves,” shooting it here in Memphis.

“CURVES,” as described by Blair, follows three plus-sized, African-American women struggling to navigate the world at large and a particularly prickly dating scene as plus size women in Memphis, TN.

What advice would she give to aspiring writers?

“Study the craft,” said Blair. “Watch old classics as well as new films. If you like a film, try to find the script to read. Take classes and join writing groups, but most of all write!

“Don’t just think about it, do it. The first thing might not be great, but with each thing you write you will learn more.”

Now age 41, Blair is focused on making screenwriting her full-time career. She spends her days here in Memphis, working a full-time job during the day, and writing at night. Hopeful that 2024 will bring more opportunities for writing, her goal is to get staffed on a TV show and sell more movies.

“Whatever my future brings, I just know writing will be a part of it.”

 (Skyy Blair can be found on Instagram as SimplySkyy.)

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