First off I wanted to show this clip in honor of Pete Postlethwaite who passed away a couple of weeks ago. I’ve always been a fan of him, especially his performance in In The Name of The Father. And Steven Spielberg famously dubbed him the “best actor in the world,” which is pretty high props coming from Mr. Spielberg. Here’s a clip of his last role in The Town…if you haven’t seen it I highly recommend it.
This is a perfect example of Secondary Action. This was a principle of animation I had a lot trouble understanding originally. It’s often confused with Overlapping Action. In this clip, his dialog with Ben Affleck is the main action of the scene, the “secondary action” is him cutting the roses. It’s an unrelated Secondary Action, as there is nothing in the dialog that mentions flowers, but it works perfectly with the scene, as it’s a slightly aggressive action which causes a lot of tension. Secondary Action is a great way to add some flavor to your scene because in life we tend to always be doing something when we talk.