1. I'm not a director, can I still take The Lab Series?

Yes. The Labs are designed for all film, tv and theatre creatives and execs who are ready to take their work to a new level.  The Technique™ is unique in that it is designed to  cross platforms. Writers take the Lab to workshop scripts. Producers take it to become more proficient in script development, and to improve their working relationships with writers, directors, and actors. Cinematographers take it to find the emotional angle of their work. Editors take it to deepen their approach to storytelling. Actors take it to strengthen their craft and find new authenticity in their performances.  Many professionals in one area often want to stretch creatively or make a switch from one form to another. The Labs are perfect for those considering a move. I encourage a mix in the Labs because it brings us closer to the experience we have on set.


2. What's the experience level in The Lab Series?

All levels are welcome to apply for the Lab.  The Technique™ encourages you to go deeper, investigate new forms of storytelling and take risks in embodying them.  This way, each participant learns and is challenged in her or his own way.


3. How many Labs are there?

The Technique™ itself has 34 different levels. Each one pertains to a different level of the mise en scene (totally ok if you don't know what this means. It will become clear!) 


4. Do I have to take the Labs in order?

No.  Each Lab is designed as a stand alone "pod".  The material in each lab covers a different aspect of The Technique™.  The labs work together, but the order can be random.  Think of it like a Lego Set. You create the path of study that suits your artistic needs. We can help!


5. What is The Technique™?

The Technique™ was developed in 1998 by Joan Scheckel.  It is the first new craft to be developed since The Method. It is a 21st century craft that breaks ground by reuniting action, feeling and story to structure meaningful films and episodics, unleash authentic performances and develop individual directorial voices.  It is a "non conflict" based approach, providing tools to create dramatic tension without reverting to the outdated notions of antagonists/protagonists, oppositional wants, conflict,  winning or losing, hopeful endings, likable characters, the Hero's Journey and the like.  The Technique™ provides tools to tell stories in terms of relationship, feeling and meaning.  The Technique™  is based on the primacy of storytelling as a context for meaning, acting as a conduit for real feeling and directing as the expression of the Self.  It's philosophy is embodied in  34 Chapters,  each of which connect to a different aspect of the mise en scene, from Acting to Visual Style. Each Chapter has it's own set of creative, mental, physical and written exercises that allow the artist to think through and embody this new approach. The Technique™ is a singular artistic vocabulary that crosses platforms, providing one usable, gettable language to write and structure story, create performances, visual style and direction.  In this way, the whole collaborative film or episodic team is empowered to work coherently, and still maintain each artist's individual creative expression.  


6. Do I have to act in the Lab?

Yes. It is the single best thing you will ever do to deepen your connection to directing, writing, or shooting a film. You will not have to get up and "perform" scenes. The acting is in the form of structured exercises and improvs. We all learn by doing, otherwise our knowledge is simply intellectual, a theory. Theory will not help you work more confidently and creatively with human beings.


7. I have a health or physical issue right now,  or maybe, I just can't stand the thought of having to participate. Aaaaahhhrg!  I feel self conscious and I don't want to participate this time. But I really want to study!  Should I come or not?

You know your body and your mind best!  If you are pregnant, on medication, have injuries or health issues and need to take care of your body by all means do!  Be sure to email us to make us aware prior to the Lab so Joan knows that you would like to solely observe this time.


8. Do I need a full script?

No. Folks often come to the lab with just a seed of an idea, and use The Technique™ to jump-start writing. You can use a scene from a script you're working on or any film script (produced or not) that interests you.


9.  At what stage should my project be? What if my material isn't finished?

The sooner the better.  Folks come at all different stages. Some directors do the lab before pre-production. It's a very nice ramp into the film. Others take The Lab in between projects. When a new idea is germinating it's a great time to explore in a safe environment. Many directors and writers say to me "But it should be further along! It's not ready!" Absolutely. That's why it's a workshop. We don't have enough forums to explore our ideas in a highly creative, supportive context. The 4 Day Labs fill that gap.


10. What's the schedule like?

The Labs typically meet over a single weekend- 1 Friday night and Saturday, Sunday days, and a Monday night online Q&A.


11. What if I can't make the whole weekend? 

No worries.  For In-Person Labs if you are unable to attend any part of the Lab, you have access to the recording of the Lab for two weeks after the Lab concludes. Many students use this footage to catch up on any portions they missed, or revisit concepts. 

For Live Online Labs feel free to jump in and out as your schedule allows! You also have access to the media links for 2 weeks after the lab ends to catch up on any parts you miss. 


12. What do we need to prepare?  How much homework is there?

There is no beforehand preparation. There is no homework.


13. I definitely want to take it, but my budget is tight this month. Will you do a payment plan?

Absoutely.  We are happy to sort out payment plans.  Just dont bail, ok?  We're a small operation and we want to keep payment plans available to people. So we have to look out for each other and each hold up our end of the bargain.  If you're good with that, a payment plan is a great option.


14. I hear it's intense.  I'm scared.

I understand.  Anything new and challenging is terrifying! And yes it is rigorous.  But so is making work, so it's better to jump in and start dealing with it. Fear is what I call an occupational hazard for artists.  It's not going to go away for the rest of your creative life. So, might as well get on with it.  Really,  the dread beforehand is the worst : )  Just show up. You won't know til you try and it's also surprisingly fun! 


15. What is the difference between stage and film acting?

From my perspective there isn't any during the preparation. There are different technical aspects to be aware of in each medium, but the key elements of preparation are the same. A good performance is good because it's free, and because it's true. How do we gain the confidence and the skill to recognize and encourage such performances? This is our investigation.


16.  Ok, I'm ready. How do I sign up?

Fantastic! We can't wait to see you!  Call us at (323) 803-5039 or Email us.

Still have questions?

 Email us and we are happy to help!