Proper method for animating a scene

I am trying to animate a scene that has several props that appear on the stage at different times and a simple rigged stick man character that goes through different actions (such as he enters the scene, sits at a chair, reaches for an object, then spins the chair, gets up and walks to another location.) I’m looking for advice on what workflow is most efficient since I’m making a proof of concept for a client.

I am new to animating in Blender although I am an experienced Blender user.

If I animate the armature with actions it is hard to properly pin down the object center of the character. For example he gets up and walks using a path and a walk cycle. The transition between the regular animation and the path animation is not smooth. I’m also running into a problem where the location data seems to get processed for one action and if I partially rewind it that data doesn’t get reset so I have to go back the beginning of the animation and play it back to reset it so I’m adding keyframes to the strip in which keyframes are not actions to fix this and it’s not good either. It just seems like my methods are causing so much headache I’m about ready to give up with NLA entirely. I hate to because it does make some things way more efficient.

What is the right way to go about animating something like this? Should I forget the NLA editor?
Also is there an easy way to convert NLAs back into regular keyframes? I’ve been poking around on the site for answers for a few days now. If anyone would like to recommend some materials or books on this please let me know. Thanks.

Looks like I found the solution to my worst problems with the NLA editor after many hours of frustrating experimentation. Unfortunately my previous post was pretty unspecific but I was having so many problems I didn’t even know where to start.

One of the biggest problems was that the movement of the object center seemed to be sporadic when playing back.
The animation was playing back but it would loose track of the previous keyframes when playing it partially through. I was having to rewind it back and process those frames to set back into place.

To fix it I had to put motion of the object center on the bottom track and to set its extrapolation to hold. It seems to be evaluating the location for each frame and has fixed that problem.

Another problem was the use of the path. That problem was caused by moving the armature away from the object center instead of using a separate keyframe for motion relative to the scene on a prior strip. This caused it to jump when it would hand over control to the path or anything else that moved the object center.

There seems to be a lack of documentation and tutorials on using the NLA editor in context of editing a larger scene. Documentation that I have encountered is usually geared towards animating an armature with actions or putting it onto a path and it ends there. I found one video where the animator had the same problem with having to rewind the scene to reset objects. All he could say is he didn’t know how to fix it. When you have a scene with props and other items in motion you must have a strategy to organize your project in the NLA editor and what I needed to know was what the best practices were to do that. I’m hopeful that I’ve found some of them by experimenting with things. If anyone who knows what they are doing can comment on this subject I would greatly appreciate it.