A bad story can never be saved, not even by the biggest of budgets. As basic as it may seem—the story of a film is its most important element. Film theorist, Greg Smith, argues that this is because the story is the appeal of a film. In his publication of ‘An Invitation to Feel’ on cognitivism and film, Smith asserts that “Films are objects that are well constructed to elicit a real emotional response from our already existing emotion systems.” Stories are the referential point of film, a good story says something in a coherent and human way in order to relate to real experiences. As much as cinematography and score, or performance and veracity of VFX appear to contribute to our opinion of a film – what really appeals is how they’ve been effectively deployed in the direction of a certain narrative to support and enhance its emotional triggers.
The digital age has unfortunately cultivated an over-reliance on medium rather than content–cinemas are jamp-packed with high-grosssing, high visual quality films that have no point of access and are rather there for escapist and voyeuristic enjoyment. Recent experimental film-makers have been acting in protest of this by making films on lower-budget material. Most famously, the award-winning film Tangerine that screened in 2015, with 97% on Rotten Tomatoes, was shot on an iPhone 5. Director Sean Baker said that he preferred his focus and time to the purpose and motion of his camera rather than the brand of lens he should use.