Niki Caro - WRITER/DIRECTOR: Whale Rider, Mcfarland USA, The Zookeeper's wife

"I first worked with Joan Scheckel when she acted as script consultant on WHALE RIDER.  We did not meet face to face for many months as I was in New Zealand, but during that time the script grew deeper and stronger under her influence. She brings insight and clarity to every project she works on.  She has a deep understanding of the architecture of a story and is as rigorous with structure as she is with character.  She is both challenging and caring and is an invaluable partner on any project. Working with her is thrilling and I cannot recommend it highly enough."


The Plot Lab is a full on, craft intensive workshop designed to take your screenplay to the next level.  It reveals the core storytelling tool essential to The Technique™: Plot Points.  Slow down and go deep with Plot itself, learn exactly what Plot is, and how to structure your story in a clear, compelling way that lands not just in the mind, but in the heart. Come learn how to clarify your story structure and put your plot into play!

  • Clarify the overall actions and plot points beat by beat to bring your film unforgettably to life.
  • Learn how to tell your story clearly, specifically and with meaning to connect with global audiences.
  • Deepen your awareness of how meaning, action  and plot connect

These fundamental skills are central to Joan's work on hits like Transparent, Little Miss Sunshine, Beginners and Whale Rider and many more. Now you can experience The Technique™ and profoundly connect to the feeling, emotional depth, and rhythm of your story.


  • Use action to build a Plot that is gettable and visceral
  • Create a Plot  using actions that earn MEANING, not Conflict.
  • Spot and avoid the common sandtraps that erode Plot
  • Deliver Plot Points in your writing, acting and directing
  • Use tools and exercises to get the Plot out of your head and onto the screen
  • Create Plot through multiple relationships, not just the binary of antagonist, protagonist
  • Keep the story moving forward, so it doesn’t flatline, repeat or fall apart
  • Know when you’ve actually got a plot that WORKS
  • Connect to your audiences through action surprise, feeling and truth



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



September 24-26

FRI 4pm - 7pm PT 

SAT 12pm - 6pm PT

SUN 2pm - 6pm PT



Online via zoom!



Class size is limited. Apply now.


For application call us at (323) 803-5039 or Email us.