Hey Chris, I just gave the short a watch and there's a lot of promising stuff going on there. I love the overall concept, although I was unsure if it was meant to feel sinister or maybe melancholy.
You've got some nice looking particle effects going on, did you do those in A:M or in After Effects?
I'm no expert but for what it's worth I'd say you could make the hair on the characters much more lifelike by using a different texture, the current one on the girl doesn't seem to work as hair. I totally get where you're coming from about becoming impatient when animating, but as you said yourself the animation would benefit from some more time being put into it.
It looks like you've used a combination of a texture and hair for the grass. It might look better if you crank up the density of the grass/hair so you see more of it than the texture. Although that would increase render times. Also I love the wind blowing through the longer grass, that looks great.
Anyway, If you either plan to go back to this one and tweak it or to move on to something else, I look forward to seeing more of your stuff.
Did you write the music for the short? I saw you played the piano in the credits. If so, hats off to you.