When I think of a script kiddie I think of someone who might barely research a tool then point it at a website - things like the recent question about LOIC come to mind when I think of that. A hacker (either black/white/grey), I imagine, is much more methodic and plans his route - they're running this system, with that IDS, and these security measures - so their attack is hopefully more pinpointed, less noisy, and more effective.
What I'm having trouble with is distinguishing between the two - a script kiddie might use metasploit, Cain & Abel, or Nessus, but a hacker or pentester would probably use them as well. What distinguishes these two? I know the script kiddie most likely won't know what's going on, but to what extent does the hacker need to know what's going on to not be considered a 'script kiddie'?
For example I like security and I am really interested in learning about it. I know about various tools such as metasploit, nessus, cain, hamster/ferret, wireshark, nmap, LOIC, etc. but I don't use them because I don't know how, or quite understand how exactly they work. I've been setting up a network of VMs to play with and do it responsibly. If that's considered being a script kiddie, what would be the defining line between a script kiddie and a hacker?