This is Our Story

We're the Sprayberrys and we moved to Los Angeles about four years ago to have our go at Hollywood. When we met the folks at Children In Film, they thought it would be a great idea if we documented our story. After all, our failures and successes (hopefully more the latter than the former) can be your lesson book.

So here you have it - Dylan and Ellery working through the ups and downs of being child actors - their mother and I working hard every day to ensure their success not only as actors, but also as well-adjusted members of society.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Preparing for School on Set

When it comes to working on set during the school year it becomes very important that we accomplish our schoolwork each day and in a quality fashion. From the beginning we've always prepared and organized the kids' schoolwork the night before they filmed. As a home schooling family it has been simple to have our act together - K12 has a nicely laid out plan for each day/week making it much easier to prepare. K12, to us, is the perfect home school program; It's as if it were designed with our industry in mind. Plus, this award winning school learning system is free and excellent! Our new school SFVSFP has changed how we approach going on set. As referenced in another BLOG ,one of the reasons we chose this school was because of their experience with industry working children; as always the trick is communication and planning. There are times when last minute work opportunities or other preparation demands arise, and when this happens we e-mail our teachers and work as a team to accomplish staying on schedule. There have been times when we will place Dylan in an afternoon tutoring math class for insurance that he is on track and he feels confident. Dylan will ask us for tutoring support if he needs it which is a beautiful thing to see: a kid asking for help then experiencing successful one-on-one learning. We are fortunate we have the tutoring available at our school. It is very convenient and helpful. You arrive on set, meet the set teacher and review your objectives for the day and show her/him that you have your schoolwork in order... and there you have it.

I will interject this: I have spoken with many set teachers that shared experiences of kids not coming to set prepared for the schoolwork day. The set teachers have a few responsibilities: physical safety of the child, ensuring breaks and work hour guidelines are respected and that schoolwork is done. If you do not bring your schoolwork, the set teacher will typically have a bag of schoolwork related tricks to work on; however, your child's regular schoolwork may get neglected. I guess it is just important to remember that it isn't the set teacher's responsibility to prepare lessons, simply to act more as a tutor in helping your child complete his or her regular assignments (whether those assignments are coming from a public/private school, online school or directly from you).
We have learned that the better we prepare for schoolwork the better the set-teacher processes flows. We have three things in mind when we are on set: do great work for the director/production team, complete schoolwork with quality, and having a fun/safe/respectable time. I have not met a set teacher that didn’t work with us on our school objectives or who failed to appreciate our schoolwork game plan. We are responsible for our kids' grades, so we make sure it gets done and nothing within reason can get in the way of that objective. With Ellery in particular, Dana will often take a portion of the schoolwork and work through it herself; it’s that important to ensure we accomplish clearing any hurdle in our learning path. In a nutshell: get ready for school the night before, meet the set teacher and review as a team what needs to happen for your child’s education that day and stay on track with it. Occasionally we work on tricky shoots and when that happens we work as a team to ensure production accomplishes their objectives too. We realize we too are part of a team so being a team player is essential. It can get tricky when production gets behind schedule - this is a whole different situation and that requires finesse which we will BOLG about at another time. Be it home, public or private school, the success of the day comes down to the parent’s quality planning/preparation and then ensuring the school game plan is followed through. The kids too have a responsibility, but as we know, we must (with most kids) guide them or they will float off... if you know what I mean. Ultimately we want our kids to grow up and take responsibility of their lives.

Do The Right Things...

I believe we are setting the example in everything we do and they will follow. If you believe this, then you can appreciate how instrumental we are to what they learn and what values they take from us when it comes to responsibility an education.
Often I say to Ellery & Dylan you gotta MAKE IT HAPPEN!!! Have a great school year kids! ~CS

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