This Lab is for you if you are interested in how meaning is brought to bear through plot actions. If you want  to tell visceral, sexy, elegant, pierce you to the core stories that change your life and call your audiences to truth. If you want to put feeling, meaning and self-hood at the center of your work - The Oedipus Lab will show you how. No one did it more clearly, thrillingly and universally than Sophocles in Oedipus, The King. This Lab reveals how 24 brilliant plot points can be used to create an inexorable, riveting journey from unconsciousness to consciousness. This intensive weekend will teach you how to:

  • Use Overall Actions to structure a meaningful plot

  • Write and deliver unexpected plot twists scene by scene

  • Craft ensemble scripts with equally strong arcs for every character

  • Deliver backstory through action, not exposition

Move through the mountain of meaning and fearlessly reclaim our forgotten truths

Crucial for writers and directors. Come learn the secrets of a rock solid plot!

Day 1: Act 1

During Lab, we put Oedipus on its feet, one act at a time. The first night unpacks Act 1. Learn how to:

  • Set up the theme through Action not exposition

  • Deliver the theme through Overall Action and Relationship

  • Create Action that illuminates the Inner Life of the Characters

Day 2: Act 2

Day 2 continues the structural investigation of Oedipus as we delve into Act 2. In this Act we learn how to structure through a crisis. Discover how to:

  • Build to a dramatic crisis through the actions of awareness, not conflict

  • Craft plot points that both advance the story and deepen the characters 

  • Develop Character Relationships that deliver the Theme

Day 3: Act 3

Day 3 moves you through the astonishing culmination of Act 3. Embody the play plot point by plot point, action by action. This Lab is a crash course on the most profound structure of all time.  In the final act, Oedipus reveals  how to:

  • Use Action to create a roller coaster ride through a truth

  • Craft a profound transformation

  • Write truly exciting, playable scenes  that deliver on meaning.


OEDIPUS:  Nov 15-18, 2024

  1. Friday 11/15 - 6:00pm-10:00pm PT
  2. Saturday 11/16 - 1:00pm-7:00pm PT
  3. Sunday 11/17 - 1:00pm-7:00pm PT
  4. Monday 11/18 - 7:00pm-9:00pm PT - Online Q & A



  1. Live - Hands On Scene: Participate in hands on scene work directly with Joan.
  2. Live - Hands On: Join the Lab in Los Angeles for an in person experience. 
  3. Live - Online: Join the Lab via Zoom and participate remotely from all over the world! Find out more about the live online experience HERE.


MiMoDa Studio

5774 W. Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90019


  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. 


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

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

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. 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. 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.


  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 in person 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.


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 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. 

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.

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