Whatever the size or scope of a project, the complexion of its world defines the nature of its story, theme, and characters. It all begins with the screenplay, with the writer building and describing a distinct milieu that will define the film’s characters, plot and theme as much as these individual elements work on their own. The challenge of creating a believable, cinematic realm whose imperfections can properly power the energy of its narrative while still efficaciously building that environment within a project’s particular budget is perhaps the key barrier to successfully producing any such piece. Creating a world that is designed for a limited budget or resources is particularly difficult, especially in television, where each episode is literally a low-budget project. Even a high-budget series like The Walking Dead will employ a “home” or standing location each season to properly utilize its resources. In our examination of Pieces of April and Winter’s Bone, we will examine how the economical environmental design of these projects actually enhanced their dramatic quality as opposed to limiting their scope.