I watch a lot of short films, just like you guys, and this revelation isn't anything new.
But it's never been so apparent to me that the number one thing that matters is the story.
Why has it never been so apparent before? Because I've never seen so much good looking footage before.
I mean really, both here and at Cinema 5d, there are shorts posted that are just stunning to look at.
The framing is spot on, the lighting is good, the Image Quality is fantastic. It looks like a Hollywood production! The editing it tight, the sound quality is great! It's really, really impressive.
But 9 times out of 10, it's boring. The story is some sort of made for Lifetime TV drama, or a "gotcha" ending, or a comedy that isnt' really funny.
Granted, I like some very specific genres, namely sci fi, fantasy, and action. But even so, that's a pretty big field, and sci fi and fantasy dont' necessarily require unobtainable special effects.
I know this site is primarily geared towards the technicals, and if you do manage to tell a good story, it's even better if it doesn't look like an amateur piece of crap, but honestly it's getting to the point that I'm much more entertained by an interesting story that looks like an amateur piece of crap, than a beautifully shot Hollywood looking snooze fest.
It's really a big turn around for me. I used to be much more enamored with "the look" and now that so many people have mastered "the look" it seems so unimportant compared to an interesting story.