Incredibly Stupid Basic Newbie Questions

Sorry to take up bandwidth on this, but I’m brand new to flash, and for the life of me, after having read the manual and MANY online tutorials, I can’t find a simple, concise, tutorial on how to do the easiest thing possible: how do you put movie clips into the main movie and play them and which scripts do you use to do this?

I know this sounds ridiculous - but there are lots of little idiosyncracies in placing MC’s on the timeline.

For example:

  1. You can put any movie clip in the first frame and it will play - but if you put it on the second frame or beyond (with no scripts) it won’t

  2. When to use the stop command on the first frame (I know this is to stop unwanted looping so a MC will play, and to stop other scripts from executing, but it seems to be inconsistent in it’s use from what I’ve seen)

  3. whether to use “gotoandplay” or just “play”

  4. when you must use target paths and when you can use just a command on the root level

What I want to be able to do is have several layers of movie clips, control them playing, and ideally be able to stagger when they start without moving them around to later frames etc.

Is this just too stupid for words or have any of you had trouble in this area when first starting with flash?

Also - can anyone recommend a flash expert I could call for tech support (on a paid basis) who doesn’t charge $200 a call like Macromedia?

Thanks, I really appreciate the help.