You know, I think relating my own experiences in learning how to work with this software might help the younger generation...the "underage" set who are making minds series before their voices mature...to become more effective editors. See...there's no crime in making mistakes. Nor is there a crime in posting it to YouTube, as long as you're willing to weather the rants and trolls. The crime is in refusing to acknowledge that you have room to improve. In fact, even the master machinimists, The crew of Roosterteeth, had mix problems and kludges in the earliest episodes of Red vs. Blue. (Actually I sponsored them from the start because I found the idea funny, and I think good arts deserve support, especially those that throw the product up for free.) Look at the difference between episode 1 season 1, and episode 1 season 2. And those two episodes were on the same original Halo title.
I started working on sound editing software in high school. These were the days of the 386/486, and when I moved to Mac (educational institutions loved macs back then for their resilience, and higher institutions love them now for their efficiency and power)...the 68030/68040. In my Junior year, the internet was just starting to become civillianized. Basically, I was living the tech trends and working with the tools, playing around with what we had. Lots of my stuff seemed pale imitation with bare improvement. However, I learned. With school projects, I tried to figure out the software...I created animated productions with the predecessor to flash. I made animations and movies in Adobe Premiere. I learned the rhythm and flow of various tools.
Thus, decades later, when I got to Kane's Mind, I was able to kludge Windows Live Movie Maker to produce a result and at least show that Sony Vegas was a worthwhile investment, that I could use it to produce something that people could enjoy.
So, I encourage you to familliarize yourself with the software. Figure out some tricks. Put stuff together. Don't submit it yet, just play with it and become familliar with various tools, even free ones. The better-written ones will seem intuitive. Also, work your files "stepwise," save alternate copies if you're not sure.
When I am working solo, I can do a lot of work in an hour a day.