I found another way to get the end result I wanted. Knowing the answer to this would still be useful though.
you can use the flash string methods to extract the part of the _url you want. for example, if you want the file name on a server that uses the "/" directory delimiter, you can use
Ah, that solution is far more elegant than what I did!
I ended up splitting the URL into an array, then using some expressions to extract what I wanted. Maybe I should take more time to learn the basics before getting too creative heh.
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using the split() method of strings is often useful and works well in this situation:
var urlA:Array = targetMC._url.split("/");
var filename:String = urlA[urlA.length-1];