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The trick is to figure out which direction or directions you'd like to pursue with Flash at the moment and get books on those topics. There are specialty books for ActionScript programming, game development, animation, etc. Check out Amazon for reviews of such books to see what others have to say.
Then choose one book and go through it from cover to cover. That's what I've done, that's what many people at this forum have done. When you encounter something that either confuses you or intrigues you in the books, come back to this forum or one of the other Flash user forums and start asking questions.
Then just experiment and play around. It works.
Cheers for the response. OK, fair enough... I have been using the Computer Arts stuff and it seems OK to me, although some of it gets a bit vague.
Can you offer any hints on good books? I would like to move into producing interactive music video/website/presentation stuff, as I have a solid background in music production.
I have also been thinking about going for some instructional videos. Have you tried any?
You first need grounding in how ActionScript works. Think of it as learning a language. You can find books that teaches you ActionScript tricks, which is the equivalent of memorizing phrases from a Berlitz book, and may be suitable to your learning style. For this, something like the ActionScript Bible would be a good starting point. Or you can get Colin Moock's books and acquire a deep understanding of AS syntax. This is particularly important if, like me (and I assume, like you), you have no knowledge whatsoever about computer programming. His best book for learning how AS "thinks" is his first one, "ActionScript for Flash MX: The Definitive Guide". It's about AS 1, and so many of the examples are possibly out of date. But the clarity and thoughtfulness of his approach to teaching how to think and speak ActionScript is unparalleled. With this sort of syntactic understanding, you'll then be able to go on to specialized tutorials or other AS books and really "get it" and be able to veer off into your own experiments.
Other than that, it's been a couple years since I bought any Flash books, though I may get some of the promising new ones, like David Stiller's not-yet-released ActionScript 3 Quick Reference Guide For Developers And Designers, since my own AS skills are still mired in AS 2.
I assure you that once you start getting into ActionScript, you will be hooked. It's the same feeling as taking French in school (BOR-ing!) and then going to France and gradually realizing that you can understand and communicate in another language (Ooh la la!). I was once one of the "I'm an artist not a programmer" elitists who couldn't bother with learning AS. Then I decided to dabble in it as exercise for my aging brain...and discovered what an exciting DESIGN tool ActionScript is. Believe me, if you can push yourself through the basic learning needed to understand how it works, you'll be as excited as I am about it.
And you'll be creating unique and wonderful musical Flash movies.
Start with the books. Most videos I've seen are frustratingly dumbed-down.