These days everyone and their DoP are making short films, so it is more difficult to stand out from the crowd and deliver films that truly wow an increasingly tired audience. It's no longer a simple case of sticking a cat in a suit and telling it to improvise, you now have to put effort in. As a side note, please don't think that technical and creative proficiency should be top of your list of things to achieve. The real secrets to filmmaking are still the same: fully exploit your parents' industry contacts, develop a drug habit, indulge in that with other filmmakers and then be seen at the right parties, with the right people. And get a Vimeo account.
If you are dweebie enough to want to work on the technical side of your "craft" then you are in luck. I'm good friends with a couple of real top quality filmmakers, and they've made a highly informative, helpful series for anyone out there who wants to make a step up in the world of movies. Cords & Dane give their top five rules: