Is this your first venture into video editing? If it is you will have your work cut out for you but stick with it and you'll be amazed at what it can do. I wouldn't even think about After Effects for the moment, just get started with making your movies and editing them so you can watch them later on. Leave special effects till later. There should be no shortage of tutorials on sites such as Adobes and others, just go onto Google and do a search for editing for beginners. What kind of camcorder do you have or intend to use to make your movie? If possible use a Mini DV model that has Firewire, does your laptop have Firewire?