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Story Artist, how does one begin the journey?

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Story Artist, how does one begin the journey?

To start, I am well aware it's no easy task; I imagine it's going to be a great mountain of work and elbow grease to make the portfolio shine. Especially given how I'm approaching it. 

I graduated college with a BA in Media Arts & Animation having always dreamed of making pictures move but since I've graduated I've not been sure where exactly in the industry I've wanted to go. It's not until recently I've realized I have a fire for story telling through my drawings. There's no better satisfaction than being able to etch out a cohesive, flowing narritive purely through images while also able to visualize it being put to motion. It's my bag, I get myself a little high off of it. I want to do this forever. Feature films are the dream, they're the end goal. 

It's a dog eat dog world, though, and I've been resting on my laurels a bit. I don't have spit for anything ready for a portfolio and I need to study up on cinematography and all the essentials to really make my work make sense and give it that extra polish it needs. Not everyone can make it, and I'm staying grounded. It just means I'm going to need to make it known I'm here and I'm gonna 'roar it up. I'm ready to get moving. 

That said!

... Where do I start? 

If anyone could do me a solid and help me answer these questions I'd be very appreciative: 

How does one network for this particular field? 

Is experience usually something that can outright trump skill or could a badass portfolio set you on the right track?

Is it typical to get into television production before feature or is it better to just aim for the goal and learn the technique? I've been reading up and it appears that both storyboarding styles are different in many ways, and I know for a fact I'm more into animated feature brand which will narrow my field considerably (Or so I believe, I could be incorrect.) 

Are there any books or references I could utilize or look up to help me fill any gaps I'm missing? Any suggestions for storyboard artists I should look up? I'm already beginning to analyze some of the Disney and Bluth films I have on hand, as well as Pixar and Illumination features but I've not dug in too deep in actually sitting and sketching out the breakdowns I see. 

What should one focus on for a portfolio when building one? Just storyboards or Storyboards, life drawing, character design? 

Are there any good places to post for critique or feedback or are the art centric forums here great for that? Though commentators on places like DevArt or Tumblr or wherever else I might post are great and all, I can never be sure who is commenting and I would like a knowledgeable base to bounce my work from.

If there are any aspects I'm missing entirely out of the process feel free to beat me with it, I've dragged my feet enough on getting myself in gear to make my career decision. 

Thank you in advance for any help given! I appreciate every keystroke and I look forward to taking lots of notes~