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My So-Called Life and the Power of 'Safe Spaces' On Set

Working on the "Life of Brian" chapter now and going through my chat with Senta Moses, I'm reminded of one of the secrets to the show's artistic success: an on-set sense of safety.

She was sharing with me her memories of her audition scene – the one where Brian "un-invites" her to the dance – and explaining the atmosphere in the room during that audition:

"I remember that room feeling very warm and I felt safe there. Because that scene was so emotional, it made it easier..."

This isn't the only time that an actor has described the on-set environment to me as "safe."

Capturing those at-times heart-wrenching scenes in MSCL required a level of vulnerability that's difficult to fake. And everyone from Winnie, Edward Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz to the directors and members of the crew went out of their way to provide those safe spaces.

While relatively rare in television at the time, this "safe harbor" was actually an outgrowth of another type of protection afforded by the Bedford Falls team: the shielding of cast and crew from interference from outside forces.

(Can you tell I'm excited to finally be able to dig into this episode? 😉)

So Beautiful it Hurts: The Making of My So-Called Life’ is neither endorsed by nor affiliated with ABC, The Bedford Falls Co., nor anyone involved with the making or distribution of “My So-Called Life.”



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