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put your loadMovie() statements on the frame where the target movieclips are instantiated (= first exist).
Thanks for the info.
But I'm going to build quite a large app once this is sorted and would like to keep all the script together on the parent movie rather than having bit's of script all over the place.
that's a good idea. but then you shouldn't be using the timeline to instantiate movieclips.
if you keep your current set-up and want the script on frame 1, then you'll need to start a loop that will repeatedly checks whether your target movieclips exist or checks the _currentframe of your _root timeline or define a listener/watch function that is triggered by the existence is your target movieclip(s).
I hand a feeling I was going to have something like that, not sure how to do the listener/watch but I should be able to do a loop with _currentframe.
Thanks for your help; it should also make the app more controllable as this way.