How to create an Action for use in NLA editor?


I have a mesh with a number of vertex selections hooked to Empties. The mesh has a Laplacian Deform modifier.

I want to create a looping walk animation using the hook Empties. When I’m finished with that, I’d like to store the walk cycle as an Action and make it repeat while the mesh (or the parent hook) moves from one position to another.

A few questions:

  1. How should I realize this? I haven’t worked with Actions and the NLA editor yet.
    Should I select all keyframed objects and can I then store an Action that comprises the walk cycle in the Dope Sheet ➔ Action Editor?

  2. Should I include the mesh itself (not just the Empties) in the object selection to store as an action, even if it has no keyframes?

  3. Can I exclude the last keyframe of each animation track, so the walk cycle loops without double keyframes?

  4. When the Action is stored, can I move the Action from one scene position to another in the NLA Editor, so the walk cycle animates while the mesh is independently moved in the NLA Editor?

In case anyone knows a good video tutorial explaining this, the link would be much appreciated.

Many thanks.