Film Independent


Starving for Stories: ‘The Technique’ Creator Joan Scheckel on Creating More Meaningful Storytelling

Earlier this year, members of Film Independent’s Project Involve and Directing Lab participated in a creative workshop from instructor Joan Scheckel. For years, Scheckel has been sharing an unique approach to storytelling—dubbed “The Technique”—with her students and collaborators, which include some of the most critically acclaimed creators in film and television. 

Recently, Film Independent Director of Artist Development Jennifer Kushner sat down with Scheckel at her Hollywood bungalow to discuss how she came to The Technique, and what it means to tell more meaningful stories. (To read a previous interview with Kushner and Scheckel, click here).
Below is an edited transcript of the conversation. To view the complete playlist of our Joan Scheckel interview series, watch here.

FOX 11

MARCH 2015 | Kelly Taylor & Lauren Sivan

YoungArts Los Angeles: See work and performances by nation's most talented young artists

YoungArts Winners in the visual, literary, performing and design arts take part in a week-long intensive and work with masters in their field. Lauren Sivan sat in on this workshop to see what these Southern California artists are treated to.




Marie Claire

September 2013 | LAUREN SANDLER

Best Supporting Player

She's behind many of the films you've loved over the past 15 years- so why haven't you heard of Joan Scheckel? Lauren Sandler gets in on the act.

NY Observer

MAy 2015 | Drew Grant

Play As Work: ‘Transparent’ Guru Joan Scheckel Brings Technique to NY

Joan  Scheckel is a bit of a witch,” confided actor Josh Radnor when I told him my plan about shedding all my earthly goods and spending the rest of my life learning at the feet of the Technique’s creator. It’s not that I’m a hippie-dippie person (though L.A. will do that to you in half a second if you give it a chance) but Joan Scheckel, guru to Transparent creator Joey Soloway, does have an otherworldly quality about her. 

Joan Scheckel in Soho. (Photo by Ben Zucker)

Filmmaker Magazine


Primal Direction

Meaning. The craving for meaning. Art and its ability to create experiences of meaning. Whether they seem all too prosaic or winsomely sincere, these words nevertheless constitute the unabashed core of an intensive, 17- session filmmaking lab series housed in a large, high-ceilinged studio in Hollywood and led by an impassioned woman named Joan Scheckel.

Film Independent

MARCH 2015 | Jennifer Kushner

"Conflict is not our only dance step." - Joan Scheckel explains The Technique

I’ve known about Joan Scheckel for years. Or so I thought. But I had never actually experienced her Technique until this month.


OCTOBER 2014 | Valentina I. Valentini

Shooting 'Transparent': From Rehearsal to Lenses to Intimate Family Drama

..."Jill asked me to join her and the cast at rehearsals with indie filmmaking guru and consulting producer Joan Scheckel. The time spent was not about running scenes, but about exploring character, relationship and emotion - all with music and through movement. Jill or Joan would call out specific actions: 'Go to the person who you feel most connected to, or least connected to,' for example. And while I had my still camera there to document moments for possible reference, I was participating as fully as the actors were. That’s a treasure for a DP. And it was fantastic."...


September 2014 | andrew jones

Interview: Joey Soloway, Jeffrey Tambor and Joe Lewis talk Amazon’s Transparent

...“'When I’m at work, I operate a technique I learned from a woman named Joan Scheckel. She has an organisation called the Filmmaking Labs in Los Angeles, where she’s teaching a simple acting tecnhique which is called ‘playable action’. What are we doing to get what we want? I’m trying to create the space on the set for the actors to go to their risk spaces and take chances with their bodies, with their performance, with their souls, and, honestly, what I’m doing at any given moment is try to make him laugh…' Jill gestures her head to Jeffrey."...