The story is the nucleus of any film. The film revolves around a story and anything and everything happening in a particular scene is set up in a way to enhance and demonstrate a story. Without a story, a film is incomplete and is just a bunch of visuals. A movie with poor cinematography and good story still has a chance to make it through but a movie with great visuals and poor story might turn out to be a sequence of few appealing videos connected one by one.
The look of a film is in the hands of the cinematographer. The way a particular shot is lit, various elements, choice of cameras and lenses, camera motion, etc. So what’s the difference between a director and a cinematographer? “If you like a film and its story praise the director and if you like the way a film looks praise the cinematographer” For eg: dark contrasty lights are used to demonstrate a sad scene or a depressed person, very shaky camera movement is used in case of an action scene to make the audience feel the rush, etc
The choice of music is a very important decision and can make or break a particular sequence if not used correctly. Sounds can be a vast topic, there are various sound elements used to add depth for eg vocals of the actors, or foley(sound reproduced in studios and added in later after the shoots) and many more audio layers. Sound is a major aspect and hits the subconscious mind of the viewer and helps to make a better attachment to the corresponding visual.
A proper team of lead actors and side actors is essential and they can be considered elements who are supposed to portray the story as a whole. Actors must be selected depending on the role and a wrong choice could lead to a disconnect with the audience. For eg: If the story demands to portray a sports person a fit well-built person fits in better than an actor who is out of shape. When portraying a father a person must have a mature and a bit old looking personality to suit better. A good actor understands the entire process of filmmaking and knows how he or she is supposed to perform.
After sound, designing color is the most ignored part if asked to new filmmakers but is a very important aspect. In feature films, a lot of attention is given to the colors in a particular scene and a separate person (colorist) takes care of the colors in a sequence. Eg. a sad scene is demonstrated by saturated bright colors it would lead to a distraction for the audience rather than supporting the story.
Locations should be selected and finalized along with the final script A depressed person can be better demonstrated in a packed small room a rich person is shown in a big mansion. The location should make sense to the audience and not be anything that wasn’t required.
Nowadays, in almost all the movies, VFX is used even if not visible directly. I have seen many movies in which VFX is used which makes no sense to the story. According to me, VFX should only be used when a particular thing cannot be executed practically and is supporting the story. Practical effects are effects that are actually executed in real life for the shoot. Practical effects look more natural and are less distracting.