Ditch outmoded, limiting notions of conflict as the source of narrative and learn how to build meaningful stories using The Technique™, Joan's groundbreaking approach to structure.  

This weekend workshop teaches you the same tools utilized by the creators of iconic hits Little Miss Sunshine, Whale Rider, Beginners, Transparent and many more! 

Now you too can learn how to:

  1. Put meaning at the center of your story. 
  2. Connect to the feeling, emotional depth, and rhythm of your work.
  3. Deepen your understanding of the fundamental building blocks of story: Nugget, Action, and Beats.
  4. Create new structural solutions for your episodics and screenplays.

Whether studying Live - Hands On or Live Online, 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. 


  1. How to come into presence and "see feelingly".
  2. The core philosophy of The Technique™.
  3. The Five Table Legs.
  4. The Six Working Principles.

Day 2: Nugget and Action

Explore 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:

  1. Clarify Theme.
  2. Define the direction of your rewrite.
  3. Unleash the emotional authenticity at the heart of the story.
  4. Create a coherent "motor" for your movie or episodic. 

Next up, we break down a classic movie structure to learn how Nugget is earned through Action, Feeling and Relationship. 

Use this info to:

  1. Understand the relationship between theme and plot.
  2. Create potent overall actions for your story, sequence and scenes.
  3. 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.   

This basic tool of ACTION can be applied to writing, directing, acting and producing. 

Use it to:

  1. Instantly elevate your structures and performances.
  2. Create blocking and relationship.
  3. Reveal feeling, vividly compelling characters, and the inner life.
  4. Communicate effectively with your actors and team.

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:

  1. Bring life and clarity to your script, structures and performances.
  2. Create rhythm and pacing.
  3. Heighten the speed and vitality of your direction, camera and performance.

Day 4: Online Q&A

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!


ACTION: May 10-13, 2024

  1. Friday 05/10 - 7:00pm-10:00pm PT
  2. Saturday 05/11 - 1:00pm-7:00pm PT
  3. Sunday 05/12 - 1:00pm-7:00pm PT
  4. Monday 05/13 - 7:00pm-9:00pm PT - Online Q & A!


  1. Live - Hands On: Join Joan in-person for a hands on experience in Los Angeles! (Limited class size)
  2. Live - Online: Join the Lab via Zoom and participate remotely from anywhere in the world! Find out more about the Live - Online experience here.


MiMoDa Studio

5774 W. Pico Blvd 

Los Angeles, CA 90019

Maplink: Click Here


The course is designed for professionals who wish to bring their skills to the next level.

The Tuition per participant is:

  1. Live - Hands On: $2,860
  2. Live - Online: $1,825

JSFL Alum can enroll directly via the Registration Form at the bottom of the page.

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. 

  1. You may pay by credit card.
  2. Payment Plans are available.
  3. Feel free to email us with questions!


  1. Whether you are a New Student or a JSFL Alum, contact us via email or the Inquiry Form to Apply and Register for this Lab. 
  2. Class size is limited.
  3. You will be placed on a waitlist should the Lab be at capacity.


  1. There are no cancellations or refunds after booking.
  2. Students are responsible for payment in full whether or not they chose to attend all class sessions.
  3. Students who sign up for Live - Online, or Live - Hands On and are unable to attend live, may make up the classes they miss via media links. Media links are available for two weeks after the lab. 
  4. Extender passes are available should you wish to access media links  longer than two weeks.


  1. Participants benefit from extended access to the course via media links for two weeks after the Lab ends. This allows you to review and process the material at your own pace.
  2. Media links will be uploaded to Thinkific and available for two weeks.


  1. By attending a Lab, you receive access to our exclusive, curated community of incredibly talented JFSL Alumni.
  2. 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.)
  3. Dynamic, personalized, interactive experiences with your colleagues allow you to practice the tools you are learning, and apply them to your own work.


  1. There is no need to bring a project. 
  2. 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.


  1. Sweats, yoga clothes (no jeans), and sneakers, as if you were going to the gym.
  2. No belts, earrings, or jewelry please. We want you to protect your bodies during floor work!
  3. Please note the Lab is physical, you are free to observe at your comfort level. Please be respectful of your body and do not participate in the physical work if you have any physical injuries, illness, are on any medications, or are pregnant.


  1. These are advanced classes for professional artists interested in exploring new practices, pushing their boundaries, and going deep.
  2. The Labs are physical.
  3. The work is feeling-based.
  4. Please note you may find the work to be uncomfortable. 
  5. There will be a mix of lecture and active exercises designed to investigate the meaning, structure and emotional core of your project.
  6. You are welcome to observe or participate according to your comfort level, whether you are in person, or online.


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, Commercial, and all content creators. It may be attended individually… or by the entire team. 

  1. Directors
  2. Writers 
  3. Actors 
  4. Producers 
  5. Executives
  6. Production 
  7. Designers 
  8. Cinematographers
  9. Editors
  10. Brand Directors
  11. Any creatives interested in Story!


The Technique™ is the first, and only, entirely new approach to dramatic craft to be developed since The Method. A paradigm shifting approach to writing, directing and acting, The Technique throws out conflict as the source of story - and instead puts Meaning at the core.

The Technique
 is now the most influential craft utilized in Hollywood, impacting scores of groundbreaking films and TV shows, including Whale Rider, Little Miss Sunshine, Beginners and Transparent. Joan created the tools of The Technique through her own search for meaning in story, and evolved them by working closely on 84 features with first time or early career writer/directors.


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 as 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, 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 writer/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. 

In this year alone, graduates of The Technique™ have garnered over 121 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.

New Students Apply Here:


Check out our FAQ page!