Look, I am a big fan of advocating for people to take credit for their work, but there’s some stuff you don’t want to be right about, and this Millie Bobby Brown article from October is everything to do with why.
When the story about her father looking for a ‘signing bonus’ from a prospective agent broke, the focus on money and how much ‘work’ she was getting made me feel like Millie Bobby Brown might be under a lot of pressure, from very close to home.
But I would have loved to be wrong.
Yesterday, just shy of six months later, Millie Bobby Brown 'maturely' opened up about her exhaustion. She explains in an Instagram video that she’s missing an appearance at Collectivecon, a signing convention in Florida, because she needs to rest.
I don’t doubt it. She’s shooting the second season of Stranger Things, she’s been doing things like appearing in the opening of the Oscars at the same time, and she’s signed to do Godzilla: King Of Monsters, presumably shooting as soon as Stranger Things finishes. So she’s busy. Of course she’s tired.
But her ‘mature’ apology brought up a few things I can’t ignore…
Kids on set have very restricted work hours. Stranger Things shoots in Georgia which varies slightly from California and New York, but basically kids under 14 can’t work more than 5 hours – including hair, makeup, and etc – on a day when they have school (although school can be banked for certain shoot situations).
There are rules about how many hours off they must have before they can come back to set, how much r & r is meant to be included in their days, and a host of other restrictions. These days these rules are followed very closely (though it wasn’t always that way) and on a show like Stranger Things where kids are everywhere, coordinating their days would be of the highest priority.
What isn’t regulated, though, is what you do on your time off.
Like appearing at comic book conventions on Saturdays after shooting Monday to Friday.
Last fall, The Hollywood Reporter detailed how stars who attend these conventions leave with 'garbage bags of 20s', which they’re paid directly by fans, eager for a picture or an autograph.
The website for Collectivecon, which Millie Bobby Brown was supposed to attend this weekend, still has her headshot up. Along with her price:
Autograph $50. Photo Op. $60.
(Nearby, the main page warns: “All Autographs and pictures are CASH ONLY”)
The other members of the cast of Stranger Things were not slated to appear.
She was the only one.
She was scheduled for five total hours of autograph signings, plus an hour and a half of photo opportunities, and a 45-minute panel. According to the online schedule, there are only 15 minutes from 11 AM to 5:30 PM not scheduled for fan access.
Six and a half hours. For a thirteen-year-old on her ‘day off’.
How many people do you think she would talk to, smile at, make happy in those six hours? How many fans do you think are respectful of her time and space and energy? How many of the people who have this kind of money to spend on fan experiences do you suppose are adults? Who, exactly, is this 13-year-old kid ‘maturely’ apologizing to?
To be clear, I think this is standard for a con, and I think it’s something that most attendees—who are adults—happily sign on for. But it’s clear Brown wasn’t just meeting fans for a few hours one day. This is something different:
In her video, Brown says cancelling a Comic Con is something “I’ve never, never done, and I’m planning on never doing again.”
That is, she has gone to these on her weekends, before. Often. Very casual research tells me she attended the Salt Lake Comic Con on March 17th and the Emerald City Comic Con earlier in March.
“Garbage Bags full of 20s”. That’s what she missed out on this weekend.
Just… take a wild guess. Who do you suppose is most interested in those?
The 13-year-old actress who is working nonstop?
Or someone else?
Here is Millie Bobby Brown at Emerald City Comic Con at the beginning of the month.