I don't mind working hard.
I mind working hard unnecessarily. –DMA

 

The Steps

How to Write and Sell a Screenplay

It isn’t impossible to pitch and be paid for a screenplay (I’ve done it). Whether you are an professional writer, a first-time writer, or a producer, director or performer seeking to create your own vehicle, just follow the four smart and simple steps below (the “Budget Prep” step is for all you indie producers!).

 

 

 

ww1.
wwLearn the Process

The 1-3-5 Story Structure Made Simple System
ww2.
wwGet Insider Tips

Planet DMA Blog
ww3.
wwPrep Your Budget


Show Starter Scheduling & Budgeting Plus
4.
Work with Professionals

1-3-5 Story Analysis Services

 

Feedback from 1-3-5 Screenwriters
“It gave me real tools to use to shape my screenplay and the responses I’m now getting from story analysts prove it works.”
-Art B, Writer
The 1-3-5 method is the simplest, most concise method I have seen
for story and character development.”
-John Paizis, Founder/Director, Performing Arts Studio West

 

What You Will Learn from Our Blog, Our Books and Our Software

  • What is story structure and why do I need it?
  • What is the process of drafting a script?
  • Do I need an agent, and how do I get one?
  • How do I work with a writing partner?
  • How do I turn my life into a screenplay?
  • And much more!

1.The Process

The 1-3-5 Story Structure Made Simple System

As a former story analyst at a major production company. I used to stand between your screenplay and a sale. Now I’m on your side.

 

THIS IS MY PROMISE TO YOU. You are closer to a sellable screenplay than you realize or have been led to believe. How do I know? Because if real estate is all about “location, location, location,” then Hollywood’s motto is “story, story, story.” And story structure is SIMPLE. It’s not a one-, two- or four-year degree away. It’s not even one weekend away in a crowded hotel or lecture hall. It’s just one day, one class, one system away. I call it “The 1-3-5.” You’re going to call it a miracle.

 

The 1-3-5 Story Structure Made Simple System: The Nine Essential Elements of a Sellable Screenplay details the step-by-step process of crafting a sellable screenplay and preparing to shop it, including:

 

Screenwriting Story Structure Story Structure. Having a baby doesn’t make you a good parent, and just typing a script, unfortunately, doesn’t make you a good writer. There are industry-established rules for crafting your story elements, from theme to character arc to the basic spine of your story, all of which integrate flawlessly in a well-executed script. We walk you through building each element and how it relates to the others. How to Write and Sell a Structurally Sound Screenplay
The Screenwriting Process Writing Process. A sound script doesn’t start with typing the words “Fade In.” Instead, you should craft a powerful logline, then a solid beat sheet, then a detailed treatment to fully flesh out your story before launching into the screenplay. The story foundation you lay will transform the screenwriting experience that follows! In the book, you will learn the simple 1-3-5 writing process and how to use it from first draft to rewrite(s) through development notes.
Selling a Screenplay Shopping a Script. Finishing up your “show” means it’s time for the “biz.” You need to protect your work, learn the proper ways to submit it and have a strategy for handling a deal – all covered in the book. If you ultimately sell that script, congrats! You can walk away with your check, dig into the development phase – or surge ahead with independent production with the help of our production software!

Buy the Book Today

 

I wrote this book with an emphasis on first-time submissions—because in Hollywood, if you think initial meetings are hard to set up, try getting a second chance if you don’t impress with script number one. With this book, whether you’re writing your first script on your umpteenth rewrite, you finally will have an extraordinarily simple process for writing and pitching work you can be proud of. And if you are evaluating and developing script submissions yourself, the 1-3-5 gives you a simple framework to analyze scripts and FIX them.

 

Professional Writers – It’s important to respect the difference between writing a novel or stage play and crafting a movie script. Screenplays are driven by active choices that define the internal character arc, which is expertly intertwined with an external mission. We break this down in detail in the book.

 

First-Time Writers - If it has been suggested to you that writing a screenplay is a way to instant millions, then you were, unfortunately, misled. While it is typical to be “paid to leave” for a first script, getting a pitch meeting, much less a sale, is a Herculean task that can be more work than writing the script in the first place! Your writing schedule should include time and money to effectively shop your script with and without representation, which we address in the blog and the book. And if you need detailed feedback and fixes on a draft, we offer the exceptional 1-3-5 story analysis notes – it is our number one consulting request!

 

Producers, Directors, Performers – If you are industry talent seeking a vehicle to promote your own career, you may be considering writing your own screenplay to produce. Digital media has radically changed access to the indie film world! It is absolutely feasible to craft and shoot your own project; but we encourage you to be unyielding in developing a structurally sound story so funding and attachments will be simpler. We address this in the blog, the book and our Movie in a Box seminars, which we currently are updating for the Web.

 

To get started writing your screenplay, please immediately read and subscribe to our “Faster, Simpler, Smarter Blog.” It’s FREE, detailed advice from experienced professionals in our industry and me. If you already have a script idea, get the book. It has sold to screenwriters and development execs around the world and taught in screenwriting programs from UCLA to Columbia College Hollywood. Read it, take notes all over it and follow the system. And if you need or want more help from there, our story analysts are here for you.

 

All the best, DMA

2.The Tips

Faster, Simpler, Smarter Tips for Writing Your Screenplay

The Planet DMA Blog began nearly three years ago as the “Break into the Biz Blog,” with tips for industry newcomers. Since then, we have come to serve industry professionals quite extensively, and it was time to reflect that in the title and ongoing “faster, simpler, smarter” tone of the blog.

 

I am proud of our detailed tips because they respond to tough questions that people trust me to answer thoroughly and honestly. They also offer solutions I wish I’d had when I was working my way up the entertainment ladder. Decades since I walked down my first runway, wrote my first songs, was paid for my first screenplay then produced my first show, I now am a proud member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, the Producers Guild of America, BMI, Showbiz Mensans and Stanford in Entertainment. I have a quite a bit to say about careers in entertainment, and I hope any or all of it helps you get where you are going with as much excitement as I have had.

 

Have a question you’d like added to the list? I get dozens a week, so I can’t answer them all, unfortunately. But please feel free to submit yours via the “Contact Us” link, and we’ll see what we can do! And if you need private assistance with a script, don’t hesitate to let us know.

 

 

Planet DMA Blog|Faster, Simpler, Smarter

 

(Recent Posts)

 


3.The Costs

Show Starter Scheduling & Budgeting Plus

Quick tip – if you are posting online for writers to do your script for free, or executive producers to raise money for your movie for free, or for anyone else to do anything else for your project for free, STOP. You absolutely cannot make money without spending/investing your own money at the beginning of your career in Hollywood! You wouldn’t expect to do successful open heart surgery without going to med school, and you simply cannot effectively produce a film, even one you wrote and/or plan to produce/direct/star in, without learning the demanding and difficult world of production. That is why we offer Movie in a Box production seminars to help you learn the process of making a film, including how to prep a schedule and budget so you can effectively plan for the costs.

 

The single biggest challenge of getting a film made is the funding, and at some point, you want to understand how those witty lines translate into gritty line items. Even as I was teaching story structure at UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, I was attending a course of film production down the hall. The basics I learned in that course have served me throughout my career as a television and, now, new media producer. I learned how to break down a script and find the money on each page to create a schedule then a budget and weekly cash flow.

 

Production Budgeting & Scheduling Software

As straightforward as that process sounds, it took at least three software programs and a couple of weeks to complete! Last year, I set out to find faster, simpler, smarter application to do all of it at once. And when I couldn’t find it, I created it. Show Starter Scheduling & Budgeting Plus finally lets you create a production calendar and generate a fully synched budget and cash flow at the SAME TIME. We even built in industry contacts so users can access speedy, professional quotes. By the time we were done, our industry testers were finishing up their pre-production documents in just a few hours instead of days or weeks. And updates took minutes, since all of the docs talk to each other!

Show Starter Plus-Production Budgeting & Scheduling Software

 

Buy the Software Now (includes a free trial)

 

“This is a game-changer.”
- Jon Kroll, Emmy-winning producer

 

“This will do for production what Final Draft did for screenwriters.”
- JM Morris, producer/screenwriter

 

“One of the Top 40 Indie Film Friendly Businesses”
- MovieMaker Magazine

 

To get started prepping your production documents, sign up for a free trial of our software. And be sure to join us for the FREE Show Starter Plus Budgeting & Scheduling Seminar – sign up link is on the right!

 

All the best, DMA

4.The Experts

1-3-5 Story Analysis & Development Services

1-3-5 Story Analysis

If you believe your screenplay or documentary could go much further with professional assistance, Planet DMA offers our 1-3-5 services to get the job done. Whether you’re creating a project from page one or reworking a project from…page one, The 1-3-5 will give you the precise understanding, focus and steps you’ll need to complete sellable projects.

 

Are you ready to experience story structure made SIMPLE? To schedule any of the below sessions, please click Contact Us, and select the “Consulting” option.

 


• Seminars & Webinars

My team and I host and participate in year-round screenwriting and production presentations, panels, workshops and seminars. Click on “Upcoming Events” to the right to join us online or in your area.

“I’d like to thank you for the wonderful seminar that you did… It was probably the most informative seminar I’ve been to about the industry. I purchased two copies of your book one for myself, and for my writer friend.” -Russell K., Producer.

More testimonials…

• Private Intensives

My team and I frequently consult one-on-one with writers and other professionals as they write and develop their screenplays and documentaries. We consult on an hourly basis and also offer two 1-3-5 packages for a flat fee:

 

1-3-5 Intensives
Private step-by-step guidance through the rules of story structure (for scripted and non-fiction).

 

$295.00/two hours, individuals-10% Guild/Academy discount
$595.00/two hours, groups up to 10

  • Theme. How to identify and incorporate theme.
  • Character Arc. The critical stages of character development, and how they relate to theme and influence the spine of your script.
  • Story Spine. The required elements of a external journey and how major and supporting characters interact to advance story.

“Easy to read. Easy to understand… It gave me real tools to use to shape my screenplay and the responses I’m now getting from story analysts prove it works.” -Arthur B., Writer

More testimonials…

• Project Development

Detailed analysis of your treatment, script, reel, or completed screener with suggested fixes and development notes prepared following the 1-3-5 format.

 

1-3-5 Analysis
You will almost never get to see the notes from your submission to a studio or production company—get an inside advantage with this extensive and straightforward feedback.

 

$195.00/treatment (up to 10 pages)-10% Guild/Academy discount
$395.00/reel (up to 20 minutes)-10% Guild/Academy discount
$595.00/script (up to 150 pages)-10% Guild/Academy discount
$995.00/film (up to 2 hours)-10% Guild/Academy discount

 

During my years as a story analyst, I tackled stacks of weekend scripts but ultimately recommended maybe two for further consideration. I have reviewed dozens of reels for professional awards and programs but rarely find a project to forward. Just in case you’re wondering why your “It’s as good as it’s gonna get” screenplay never landed on the desk of a dealmaker.

 

“Good enough” isn’t. “Sellable” is possible, if you respect the rules of story and don’t fight to reinvent the filmmaking wheel!

 

If you have completed work…and you are seeking a full professional analysis…and you are excited to hear some hard-hitting facts about your structural elements, character arc, presentation and general “wow” factor…it’s time for 1-3-5 analysis, including:

  • Synopsis.
  • Character Analysis.
  • Evaluation of Structural Elements.
  • Story Notes.
  • Project and Writer Development Recommendations.

For treatment and reel analyses, you will receive a one-sheet addressing these elements. For full script and film analyses, you will receive a full development note package.

1-3-5 Writing Services
We are proud now to offer screenplay work-for-hire, script collaboration and script doctoring services, with credited screenwriters from our team.
$20,000 and up

 



For all of our 1-3-5 services, it is important to note that Planet DMA is NOT a producer on your project! We are here to guide you structurally through your own writing process, or to write the script ourselves, so your script will be on-target for the screenwriting marketplace.

Testimonials

Show Starter Success Stories

Feedback from our readers – The 1-3-5 Story Structure Made Simple System

“To the point, simple and right on! It helped in rethinking my rewrite.”
—Effie Brown, Producer, Real Women Have Curves
“Easy to read. Easy to understand… It gave me real tools to use to shape my screenplay and the responses I’m now getting from story analysts prove it works.”
—Art B, Writer
“One of the clearest explanations of the main tension, midpoint, 3rd act tension concepts ever (including USC film school!)… I smell another rewrite. Damn you…”
—Tyler O., Student
“Love your book. Succinct. Straight-to-the-point. Belongs right next to “Inside Story” by Dara Marks, Blake Snyder’s “Save the Cat”; and Vogler’s “Writer’s Journey.”
—Stephen W. , Writer
“I read the book in one sitting. It’s fantastic! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!!”
—Bernard T. , Writer
“The 1-3-5 system is brilliant. I have never seen a method so simple, yet so effective when digging for the gold in your story.”
—Rick B., Ph.D., Professor and Writer
“Over the past three years I’ve bought 18 screenwriting books, gone to five seminars and 3 workshops… In one simple, direct book you’ve done what no other has done.”
—George C., ‘A no longer confused screenwriter’
“It turns any idea into a viable script possibility. And it’s applicable to every form of storytelling, from reality, documentary to narrative. Pretty good therapy, too, when applied to your personal life.”
—John K., Director and Producer
“I love your book! It’s brilliant!…Your book is SO CLEAR, SO EASY TO FOLLOW!… I’m already RE-WRITING!”
—Cassandra S., Screenwriter
“I have had the pleasure to read your book…and it is a little gem! It’s concise, and it covers enough information to guide you through the process of creating a great story that gets attention. I am confident now that my screenplays will SELL, and that I can compete with MAJOR PLAYERS in the industry. The 1-3-5 Story Structure System definitely gets a ‘Recommend’ from me!”
—Yvette T. , Writer
“I met you at a ScreenPlay Lab presentation you made, and bought your ’1 3 5′ book. You’ve got it down to a science, and it really helped my students clean up their scripts.”
— Evie H., Writer
“1-3-5. What a revelation.”
—Robert A., Student

Feedback from our attendees – The 1-3-5 Story Structure Seminars

“Your workshop was fabulous, both for our actors and budding writers. The 1-3-5 method is the simplest, most concise method I have seen for story and character development.”
—John Paizis, Founder/Director, Performing Arts Studio West
“I’m a writer and have taken a lot of screenwriting structure lectures and read every book, so I didn’t expect to hear anything new that day. I don’t know whether it was what you said or the passion with which you presented it, but I really did come away with some fresh insights that I’m using in my rewrite RIGHT NOW!”
—Lisa R., Student
“This course is a MUST for the writer-director-producer. Anderson outduels McKee, Fields, and the rest.”
—Jon S., Writer
“GREAT! It was GREAT! It was a “working” session – it was so inspiring…the minds were actually working in the room! It was GREAT! Three long time members actually walked in with the book – positioned themselves on the far wall with notepads on the table and wrote feverishly during the session! It was GREAT!”
—Sheila H., Author
“I can hardly imagine a better source to turn to for understanding how a great screenplay works, how a middling screenplay can be fixed or for learning more about writing, rewriting or analyzing a screenplay.”
—Clyde Derrick, Development Executive/Writer, formerly of Kennedy/Marshall Productions
“Just wanted to thank you again for the chance to attend your seminar… My friends and I are still buzzed from the experience. It was exactly what we needed.”
—David A. Student
“You won’t find a more passionate, energetic screenplay structure expert. Step-by-step, Anderson will guide you from simple idea to tightly structured screenplay.”
—Charlie Jordan, Director, Something to Sing About
“The key to great storytelling begins with the script. You must have passion for storytelling or study with someone who has that passion. Anderson is just that, an insightful teacher who loves story, structure and detail.”
—Robert Townsend, Producer/Director/Writer/Actor, The Five Heartbeats
“I found the class stimulating and Anderson brilliant at story structure.”
—Larry C., Writer

Buy the Book

“I love your book! It’s brilliant! Your book is SO CLEAR, SO EASY TO FOLLOW!
-Cassandra S., Writer

 

“To the point, simple and right on! It helped in rethinking my rewrite.”
-Effie Brown, Producer, Real Women Have Curves

 

“Easy to read. Easy to understand… It gave me real tools to use to shape my screenplay and the responses I’m now getting from story analysts prove it works.”
-Arthur B., Writer


Sell a Screenplay|The 1-3-5 front cover
ORDER NOW – and get two BONUS writing tools!!

 

YOU WANT TO WRITE A GREAT SCRIPT.
WE WANT YOU TO SELL ONE.

 

Finally, a simple and straightforward screenwriting book from the script buyer’s point-of-view.

 

We call it “The 1-3-5 System.” You’re going to call it a miracle.

 

**********

Written by a former story analyst at a major Hollywood production company, The 1-3-5 Story Structure Made Simple System, walks you step-by-step through:

 

  • How to Identify Your Theme
  • Character Arc and the Internal Mission
  • The Spine and the External Journey
  • Crafting Your Logline, Beat Sheet and Treatment
  • Character and Dialogue Development
  • Proper Submission Process
  • and more!
“Over the past three years I’ve bought 18 screenwriting books, gone to five seminars and 3 workshops looking for that magic bullet on screenplay structure… Finally, I’ve found it! In one simple, direct book you’ve done what no other has done… “
-George C., ‘A no longer confused screenwriter’

 

“One of the clearest explanations of the main tension, midpoint, 3rd act tension concepts ever (including USC film school!)… I smell another rewrite. Damn you…”
-Tyler O., Student

 

“Love your book. Succinct. Straight-to-the-point. Belongs right next to “Inside Story” by Dara Marks, Blake Snyder’s “Save the Cat”; and Vogler’s “Writer’s Journey.”
-Stephen W., Writer

 

“1-3-5. What a revelation.”
-Robert A., Student

Hundreds of books claim they can teach you how to write the perfect script. Listen up: your script doesn’t need to be perfect to sell! It does need to include nine standard story elements. Producer, writer and story analyst Donna Michelle Anderson, best known in the industry as “DMA,” has been hammering this point home for more than a decade at UCLA Extension Writers Program, film fests, production companies and more, and as the founder and screenwriting instructor of the Movie in a Box one-day filmmaking seminars.

With this concise guide, DMA brings you the simplest steps to unifying a theme, character arc and spine, then streamlining those elements into a sellable script.

“I heard about your book from a writer friend that attended DMA’s talk
[at Scriptwriters Network]… He wouldn’t stop raving about it.”

-Brian M., Writer

 

“I met you at a ScreenPlay Lab presentation you made, and bought your ’1 3 5′ book. You’ve got it down to a science, and it really helped my students clean up their scripts.”
-Evie H., Writer

 

“Absolutely helpful. Succinct no nonsense, jab it in your face reality of what elements have to be addressed if the writer is to have a chance of success… I address the issues you discuss, but your explanation and command delivers much more impact… Thanks. The book delivered.”
-Peter F., Story Analyst/Screenwriter

 

“I just completed reading your book and now I’m going back for seconds. {:-)”
-Rick M., Author

 

“I read the book in one sitting. It’s fantastic! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!!”
-Bernard T., Writer

As an industry professional, DMA has analyzed (and, unfortunately rejected), countless scripts, written and been paid for her own screenplays, taught screenwriting, and studied story structure in-depth for over a decade. Her surprising discovery? Story structure is SIMPLE.

 

The “1-3-5″ dramatically simplifies your screenwriting process with insider information like:

  • a no-nonsense trick to quickly pinpoint your theme
  • the fail-proof “character arc machine” that instantly focuses your story
  • one simple rule to speed you through the second half of your script
  • the eight “kiss-of-death” feedback phrases and what they mean you’d better fix
  • and more!

This book, the core of DMA’s successful nationwide screenwriting seminars, is accessibly priced at only $15.99.

 

But we don’t want you to just read the book. We want you to actually write or rewrite your script!

 


Buy the “1-3-5″ today, and you’ll get two FREE screenwriting tools
not just to help you write your screenplay but also to help you protect your script before you submit it:

 


FREE SCREENWRITING TOOL #1:
A Screenplay Formatting template.
($55.00 value)

 

Screenwriting software programs cost nearly $300! We’re setting you up with a
Word-based template that gives you the same format for FREE.

 


FREE SCREENWRITING TOOL #2:
A PDF Converter.
($30.00 value)

 

You’re dying to submit your script, but you’re afraid to send an editable version
out to the sharks. Mainstream PDF converters cost hundreds of dollars;
we’ve got a downloadable version for you for FREE!

 

Due to the size of the bonus files, upon receipt of your order, we will forward you links so you can access them online.

 


ORDER YOUR 1-3-5 BOOK NOW!

or read on to find out how the “1-3-5 Story Structure Made Simple System” has revved up the writers and more who have read the book, booked private sessions, or attended one of our acclaimed seminars:

“I’m a writer and have taken a lot of screenwriting structure lectures and read every book, so I didn’t expect to hear anything new that day. I don’t know whether it was what you said or the passion with which you presented it, but I really did come away with some fresh insights that
I’m using in my rewrite RIGHT NOW!”

-Lisa R., Writer

 

“RE SAT[URDAY]. GREAT! It was GREAT! It was a “working” session – it was so inspiring…the minds were actually working in the room! It was GREAT! Three long time members actually walked in with the book – positioned themselves on the far wall with notepads on the table and wrote feverishly during the session! It was GREAT!”
-Sheila H., Author

 

“I’d like to thank you for the wonderful seminar that you did… It was probably the most informative seminar I’ve been to about the industry. I purchased two copies of your book one for myself, and for my writer friend. I wish you the best with your book, and look forward to reading it.”
-Russell K., Producer

 

“I almost didn’t come to the conference today and now I am certainly glad I did!
You were very concise and wonderfully informative without all of the Hollywood jargon I so frequently hear buzzing in the background… Thank you again!”

-Marc E., Writer

 

“Just wanted to thank you again for the chance to attend your seminar…. My friends and I are still buzzed from the experience. It was exactly what we needed.”
-David A., Producer

So many writers we work with feel that filmmaking is a closed-door industry, with a high cost of entry that only insiders can afford. That’s why buying the 1-3-5 Book does more than just simplify and demystify the screenwriting process. It also gives you access to typically costly writing tools that help you turn what you’ve learned into a format that satisfies unspoken industry expectations. And we’re giving all of it to you for the price of one book. All we ask is when you sell your script(s), send us a note so we can celebrate!

MORE SAVINGS! Your eBook purchase price will be discounted against any 1-3-5 script analysis you order from Movie in a Box’s “The 1-3-5 System” in the ninety (90) days following the date of purchase.

ORDER NOW!

 

The 1-3-5 Story Structure Made Simple System:
The Nine Essential Elements of a Sellable Screenplay
(85 pgs)

 

by DMA/Donna Michelle Anderson

 

Only $15.99US—including CA sales tax* and shipping to anywhere in the U.S.;
only $19.99US for international orders! All sales final.

 

*The price of this item includes sales tax reimbursement
computed to the nearest mill.

 

PLUS!! The 1-3-5 Book also is available as a digital eBook – buy it below!
PC compatible (not Mac). The eBook cannot be printed.

 


PAY BY CHECK OR MONEY ORDER

 

Please send your mailing information and email with U.S. check or U.S. money order for $15.99 payable to “Movie in a Box” to:

 

MOVIE IN A BOX
14622 Ventura Blvd. #333
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
USA

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Please contact us for bulk discounts on orders of 5 or more. Thank you.