Live In-Person and Live Online!

What is it?

Whale Rider, Little Miss Sunshine, Beginners, Snow White and the Huntsman,Transparent… What do all these hits have in common?

The Technique™.

Created by Joan Scheckel, The Technique™ is a radical rethinking of the “conflict” based storytelling paradigm. The Technique™ calls into question accepted tropes of antagonists, protagonists, heroes, villains, winning and losing - and instead puts meaning, feeling and relationship at the center of story. 

This 4 day, craft packed intensive introduces you to the same groundbreaking approach that has influenced a generation of successful storytellers. Now you too can learn how to:

  • Put meaning at the center of your story. 

  • Connect to the feeling, emotional depth, and rhythm of your work.

  • Deepen your understanding of the fundamental building blocks of story: Nugget, Action, and Beats.

  • Create new structural solutions for your episodics and screenplays.

Whether in-person, online, or self-guided through media links, this essential workshop is designed to ground your skills and bring your creativity to the next level. The tools learned can be applied to all fields in any entertainment platform. Up your game, whether you are pitching, writing, acting, directing, designing or producing.


Day 1: Intro to the Technique™

Using a mix of lecture, embodied exercises, and case studies, the first class introduces you to the core principles of this groundbreaking approach. Investigate:

  • How to come into presence and “see feelingly”

  • The core philosophy of The Technique™

  • The Five Table Legs

  • The Six Working Principles

Day 2: Nugget and Action

Day 2 explores proven tools from The Technique™ that allow you to clarify the thematic essence of your screenplay, film, or character and embody it through Action. By identifying the "Nugget", i.e. the meaning and intention of your work, you can fast-track your project with confidence and coherence. Use the "Nugget" to:

  • Clarify theme

  • Define the direction for your rewrite

  • Unleash the emotional authenticity at the heart of the story

  • Create a coherent "motor" for your movie

Next up on Day 2, we break down a classic movie structure to learn how Nugget is earned through action, feeling and relationship. Use this info to:

  • Understand the relationship between theme and plot 

  • Create potent overall actions for your story, sequence and scenes.

  • Structure compelling scripts

Day 2 culminates with the definition of Action.  Embodied exercises teach you how overall actions, supporting actions and beats work together to create surprising structures and specific characters.   Learn the 5 Sandtraps that are bogging down your stories. This basic tool of Action can be applied to writing, directing, acting and producing. Use it to:

  • Instantly elevate your structures and performances

  • Create blocking and relationship

  • Reveal feeling, vividly compelling characters, and the inner life

  • Communicate effectively with your actors and team

Watch this brief intro video on the "Nugget":  Click Here

Day 3: Beats

Using a classic film scene, Day 3 explores Beats. Learn how to use script analysis to break down your scene, and get it up on its feet!  Apply what you learned from Days 1 & 2,  and discover how Nugget, Action and Beats work together to:

  • Bring life and clarity to your script structures and performances

  • Create rhythm and pacing

  • Heighten the speed and vitality of your direction, camera and performance

Day 4: Synthesis

After this incredible weekend full of new concepts, join Joan online to synthesize the work. A robust online Q&A invites you to ask questions and get practical, direct answers. Dig deeper into the work and get insight into applying the tools of Nugget, Actions and Beats to your own stories!  

Join us in Action! We can’t wait to support your stories and bring them unforgettably to life!


The Action Lab: Apr 21 - 24, 2023

  1. Friday     04/21    7:00pm - 10:00pm PT 

  2. Saturday 04/22    1:00pm - 7:00pm PT

  3. Sunday   04/23    1:00pm - 7:00pm PT

  4. Monday 04/24    7:00pm - 9:00pm PT - Online!



Choose Your Option: In Person or Online!

  1. There are two ways to participate in the Action Lab: In Person, or Online. Choose to:

    1. Join Joan in-person for a hands-on experience in Los Angeles. (Limited class size. Covid Permitting. Proof of vaccination and daily negative rapid covid tests required)

    2. Join the Lab via Zoom and participate remotely from all over the world. Online participants have the opportunity to see Joan demonstrate the embodied work with in-person students. You will also be provided with a course outline during the lab that will guide you through the experience step-by-step.

  2. In-Person location:

    1. MiMoDa Studio

    2. 5774 W. Pico Blvd 

    3. Los Angeles, CA 90019

    4. Maplink: Click here.

  3. FLMS COVID Guidelines

    • . We look forward to having a safe and joyful embodied practice in the Lab. Please note that we are keeping a close eye on the CDC and LA County guidelines. You will be updated on our practices prior to the course.

Who goes:

Whether you are Directing, Writing, Acting, or Producing, The Technique™ is essential in taking your career to the next level! The Lab Series is designed for Film, Episodic, Comercial, and all content creators. It may be attended individually …or by the entire team. 

  • Directors

  • Writers 

  • Actors 

  • Producers 

  • Executives

  • Production 

  • Designers 

  • Cinematographers

  • Editors

  • Brand Directors

  • Any creatives are interested in Story!



  • This is the core of Joan's technique. The course is designed for professionals who wish to bring their skills to the next level.

  • The tuition per participant is: 

    1. In-Person: TBA

    2. Live Online: $1,825

  • Once accepted, you must register and remit tuition in order to hold your spot.

  • You may pay by credit card.

    1. Payment Plans are available, please inquire.

  • We love teams and groups that want to take the Lab together! Should you choose to study with your team, please note the tuition price is per participant, not per group. 

 JSFL Alumni Hub:

  • By attending a Lab, you receive access to our exclusive, curated community of incredibly talented JSFL alumni.

  • Find creative connections and support with like-minded artists from the Lab via Slack, Happy Hours, Ongoing Classes/ Generators, and Alumni Meetups (both on Zoom and in person!)

  • Dynamic, personalized, interactive experiences with your colleagues allow you to practice the tools you are learning, and apply them to your own work!

Bringing a Project:

  • There is no need to bring a project. The techniques learned can be applied to all fields in any entertainment platform. Up your game, whether you are pitching, writing, acting, doing cinematography, directing, designing, or producing.

  • Although specific material is not necessary for The Lab Series, students sometimes like to bring in specific projects to refer to as Joan goes through the exercises.

Class Level:

  • These are advanced classes for professional artists interested in exploring new practices, pushing their boundaries, and going deep.
  • The Labs are physical.
  • The work is feeling-based.
  • Please note you may find the work to be uncomfortable. 
  • There will be a mix of lecture and active exercises designed to investigate the meaning, structure and emotional core of your project.
  • You are welcome to observe or participate according to your comfort level. You will get just as much out of observing than participating.

Refund/Cancellation Policy:

  • There are no cancellations or refunds after booking.

  • Students are responsible for payment in full whether or not they chose to attend all class sessions.

  • Students who sign up for live online or live in-person and are unable to attend live, may make up for the classes they miss via media links. Media links are available for two weeks after the lab. 

  • Extender passes are available should you wish to access media links longer than two weeks.


Writer/Director/Producer/Teacher Joan Scheckel is the internationally-renowned creator of The Technique™, the most influential new approach to writing, directing, and filmmaking craft in Hollywood today. Joan is known as the “director’s guru” and a master teacher in the tradition of Stanislavski, Strasberg, and Joseph Campbell. Joan’s groundbreaking work challenges our cultural addiction to conflict and calls for a new storytelling paradigm that embraces feeling and meaning. Her innovations inform every level of the Mise-en-scène, from writing, acting, and directing to visual style.


Joan trains and then teams with directors to develop, workshop, write, direct, and produce material from the ground up. Including such iconic hits as: Niki Caro’s Oscar Nominee Whale Rider, Dayton/Faris’s Oscar Winner Little Miss Sunshine, Mike Mills’s Oscar Winner Beginners (Executive Producer), Joey Soloway’s Emmy Winner Transparent (Consulting Producer), Joey Soloway’s Golden Globe Nominee I Love Dick (Producer), Sarah Shapiro’s Peabody Award Winner UnREAL, Rupert Sanders’s Oscar Nominee Snow White and the Huntsman, Nick Jarecki’s Golden Globe Nominee Arbitrage, Sacha Gervasi’s Spirit Award Winner Anvil Story of Anvil, Karyn Kusama’s The Invitation, Mark Romanek’s One Hour Photo, Miranda July’s The Future, (New Yorker Magazine Best of the Decade List), Liz Feldman’s Emmy Award Winner, Dead To Me,  Anna Winger and Alexa Karolinski’s Unorthodox, and many, many more.


Joan was also co-writer on The Vintner’s Luck, directed by Niki Caro (Mulan), starring Jeremie Renier and Vera Farmiga.


Overall, Joan has worked on 84 feature films and television shows. 74 came to her with unfinished drafts, no financing or cast, and with first time or early-career writers/directors at the helm. 83 have been released, earning over 800 nominations and 406 wins including major category nods at the Oscars, Spirits, Golden Globes, Sundance, Cannes, Bafta, Emmys, PGA, DGA, etc. 

This year alone, graduates of The Technique™ have garnered over 112 award nominations from Sundance to Oscars and Emmys.


Joan has been profiled and featured for her work and her influence on a generation of directors in many articles and publications such as: NYTimes, LA Times, Marie Claire, Deadline, Indiewire, Vox, IF Magazine, California Sunday, The New York Observer, and more.


Now, Joan is poised to create a slate of books, films, labs (live and online), podcasts, and apps.