The most significant 'FEATURE' of a Film
Several elements are significant in making a film; the characters, cinematography, performances, equipment, and the story. But the one thing that plays the most substantial part in making a good film, or ruining it, is the story.
Cinema is all about storytelling
Cinema is all about storytelling, and all the other elements of filmmaking revolve around communicating the story to the audience. As filmmaking technologies keep getting more advanced and complex, it is easy to forget the importance of the art of storytelling, without which all these technologies become pointless.
Visual storytelling aims to create active characters and appropriate scenarios on screen, which will engage the audience. This forms the basic structure on which script, locations and lighting choices, visual effects, sound, and strong cinematography are added to tell the story in a way in which the filmmaker wants to. This base structure can be given any kind of spin by the filmmaker. The narrative can be made non-linear; the chronology of characters and sequences can be mixed up to create the film which the filmmaker has visualized. With the help of quirky twists and unexpected outcomes, the interplay of image and sound, rhythm and gesture, a filmmaker can manipulate the story, intrigue the audience, and create the desired mood. But to achieve the desired outcome, a solid and engaging basic story structure is indispensable.
The earliest films made in the 19th century tended to lack a story structure, and just captured movement. But as the medium gained popularity, filmmakers developed a set of grammar rules to tell stories on screen. Those rules have kept getting modified with time, and currently, the older styles of storytelling are giving way to new narrative forms, and alternate ways of making sense are constantly probed into. The digitally-driven modern aesthetics have formed unforeseen relations between the audience and the screen, and individuality in communication has reached unexpected heights. But whatever narrative style, genre, or gear a filmmaker chooses, the audience needs to be kept engaged with the story and its characters. That is the biggest aim of storytelling on screen.