Joey Soloway - Writer/Director: transparent (Golden globe winner, Emmy Award Winner) Afternoon Delight (Winner Best Director Sundance 2013)

"I steer every person who's looking to the workshops of Joan Scheckel. This is what she insisted we needed to direct-- a sense of being present in the moment, an understanding of playable action as a tool to channel emotion, a stamina that would allow us to withstand the physical challenges of a feature set. As a writer, I had tools about character and dialogue, but as a director, I had a lot to learn about what we're actually doing with the camera. A few weeks in, something kicked in and I actually began to transform into a director. It's odd to me that even after ten years experience on the set of TV shows, I was completely lacking in a foundational language. I learned that language at Joan's lab. I employed things I learned from Joan about the intangibles of energy and relationships, producers and alliances and how the shape of the emotional nugget can inform the larger shape of the process. She handed me a map with clear markings that made sense."

What is it?

The Action Lab is the core of The Technique™ in one essential, craft packed weekend! In this 3 day weekend intensive, you will discover how to put meaning at the center of your Story. Learn how to build the structure and rhythm of your work to bring it unforgettably to life. Deepen your understanding of two of the fundamental building blocks of a story: Action and Nugget.

These skills are central to Joan's work on films and television shows such as Transparent, Beginners, Arbitrage, Snow White and the Huntsman, Little Miss Sunshine and Whale Rider. Now you can experience the techniques to instantly connect you to the feeling, emotional depth, and rhythm of your work. This full on craft intensive workshop is designed to ground your skills and bring your creativity to the next level.

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, directing, designing or producing.

What Does it Cover?

Day 1: Intro

Whale Rider, Little Miss Sunshine, Beginners, Snow White and the Huntsman, Arbitrage, One Hour Photo, Transparent, I Love Dick, UnReal, Unorthodox… 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 and source of story.

The first class introduces you to the core principles of this groundbreaking approach. Investigate:

  • The core philosophy of The Technique™
  • The Five Table Legs
  • The Six Working Principles

Use these concepts to inspire your work, and think deeply into the core and structure of your story!

Day 2: Nugget 

Explore the proven tools from The Technique™ that help clarify the thematic essence of your screenplay, film, or character. By identifying the "Nugget", i.e. the core meaning of your story, 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
  • Understand the structural relationship between theme and plot

Day 2 is a deep dive into structure.  This class takes a hands on, practical look at how theme and action connect.  You will:

  • Break down a classic movie structure in terms of Actions that deliver on Relationship, Feeling and Theme.
  • Embody Nuggets that Joan has created for hits like Little Miss Sunshine and Snow White and the Huntsman. Get up and do it to really see how the concept ticks!
  • Learn how Nugget and Action create every level of the mise en scene, from dialogue, blocking, rhythm, character, journey and beyond.

Use this information to craft a meaningful story with actions that connect!  Day 2 is designed to inspire new structural solutions for your episodics and screenplays. Watch this brief intro video on the "Nugget":  Click Here

Day 3: Action
Action is the single most important thing this work can teach you. Understanding Action generally, and Playable Actions specifically, will give you an incredibly useful tool for every single part of the creative process, including writing, directing, producing, financing, distributing and marketing. Use Action to:

  • Instantly elevate your material and performance
  • Structure your screenplay
  • Create blocking and relationship
  • Reveal feeling, vividly compelling characters, and the inner life
  • Communicate effectively with your team

Day 3 is all about Action and how it calls performance into being. Learn how to carefully select Playable Actions that you can both do and feel in order both to viscerally understand the essence of your story and to engage the process of bringing that story to life. You will:

  • Learn the definition of Action: this basic tool can be applied to writing, directing, acting and producing
  • Look at how to properly state overall actions and how they create beats and supporting actions
  • Develop action vocabulary to facilitate connection at all levels of your project
  • Put action into play with the “Here to the Door” exercise
  • Avoid falling into the Sandtraps that are bogging down your stories

Why is it so necessary to understand Action? Because it is fundamental to your work as an embodied artform. Learn what Action is and make your masterpiece that connects with global audiences!


The Action Lab is designed for Film, Episodic, Commercial and all content creators. It may be attended individually by the Writer, Director or Producer...or by the entire Team.

  • Directors
  • Writers
  • Actors
  • Producers
  • Executives
  • Financiers
  • Production
  • Designers
  • Cinematographers
  • Editors

Please See FilmsCommunity and Quotes for Artists Joan has worked with and their thoughts.




FRI     04/22   7:00PM - 10:00PM PT
SAT    04/23   1:00PM - 7:00PM PT
SUN    04/24   1:00PM - 7:00PM PT



IN-PERSON: MiMoDa Studio • 5774 W. Pico Blvd • Los Angeles, CA 90019
ONLINE via Zoom 
Let us know what works best for your schedule!



Class size is limited. Wait List Open - Apply now!

Application Deadline: WED 4/20/22

Call us at (323) 803-5039 or Email us