Mark Mapping

For the third season of The Spell Tutor, we wanted to try an episode with a more ambitious storytelling style. The two main characters of this episode, Emma and her mother, jump through four different locations in a fast-forward review of Emma’s life.

This required some extra organization for me as director to make sure this would work. Rather than relying on storyboards, I created a “mark map” to help keep everything aligned, especially since our shooting schedule didn’t allow for shooting the four locations in order, or within the same timespan.

This diagram was created using Visio, a simple layout tool, and sent to the team in advance of shooting.

For me, this was useful in a way that a storyboard wouldn’t be because it was independent of camera placement. The actors could know their marks and which direction to face, while the DP and I could separately figure out the angles we needed to get in each location.

All of this made the final edit relatively painless, as edits go. And the extra work paid off, as I got a Best Director nod for this episode at the New Jersey Web Fest that wrapped a few weeks ago. You can see the final result here: