There are tileable pans that can be cut. Wedi makes a neat shower system www.wedi.de (I can never remember their US website, but you can find it on that one!). Kerdi system by www.schluter.com also makes a nice system. If you can put up wallpaper, you can put up a Kerdi shower. They have a video on their site that shows you how that goes.
Check out www.johnbridge.com for help with tiling exercises...lots of tile pros there.
The biggest two things about pre-made pans is your drain location must be EXACT, and the floor MUST be flat in order to use one.
A deck mud pan isn't all that tough, but it is intimidating the first time. It is heavy work, though. It's sort of like working with beach sand. Ever made a sand castle?