We had the good fortune of connecting with Almog Avidan Antonir and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Almog, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
My work life balance is something I’ve given a lot of thought over the last several years. I used to work all the time, going to my computer first thing in the morning and working through the late evening or sometimes even into the night. I would also attempt to juggle too many projects simultaneously, which would take a toll on my mental health. I took pride in the fact that I was too busy, as if my packed work schedule was somehow a measure of my success. Over the last few years, however, I realized that this approach was causing a spike in my stress levels, and sometimes even hindered my relationships. When I geared up to direct my first feature film, I knew that if I would approach this longer project the way I did previous short film or commercial projects, I would get to a point of anxiety that would have an effect on the quality of my work. I knew that something would have to change if I wanted to continue doing what I love — making films — for the long term. With this realization, I’ve consciously taken the time to slow down over the last couple of years. I have a new, healthy morning routine rather than jumping right into work. I also allow myself breaks to give my brain a chance to recharge, and make time for personal hobbies and social activities with friends to offset work. This change has helped me establish a healthier work life balance, hopefully for a sustainable and long career.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My career as a filmmaker started with a lot of persistence and a healthy dose of luck. After college, I needed an outlet to stay creative, so I started a comedy YouTube channel called Almost Cool Films along with three of my best friends. I made it a goal to write, shoot, edit, and release a new short every two weeks. This took a ton of work, but allowed me to sharpen my skills and build up my portfolio. Unexpectedly, some of our videos became viral on Reddit, and my career in the digital space took off. While I’m beyond grateful for the start of my career through YouTube, I did find it challenging to be taken seriously as a filmmaker beyond the bubble of short-form digital content. I quickly realized that I would need to rebrand myself as a serious director capable of writing and directing feature films, and not only in the genre of comedy.

About two years ago, my friend Jennifer Levinson asked me to direct her feature film, Trust. I loved the story and characters, and knew this would be an opportunity for me to utilize my sensibilities for dark comedy while sinking my teeth into a long-form drama. Trust is one of the projects I’m most proud of, not only because it enabled me to tell a great story and work with so many talented people, but also because I was able to prove to myself that I’m capable of doing what I love on a larger scale. I’m very excited to premiere Trust this August at Cinequest Film Festival. Throughout my experience directing Trust, and the many projects that preceded it, I’ve learned many lessons. I learned to create my own opportunities instead of waiting for permission, to trust the people around me while never losing sight of my own intuition, and to balance work and personal life in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
My ideal show-a-friend-around-LA week would consist of the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook and the Griffith Observatory for amazing views of the opposite sides of LA. I’d also take them to the see the Venice canals, Universal Studios, the Santa Monica pier, Temescal Canyon, the Getty Museum, and at some point take a breather at Lake Shrine Self-Realization Center. Some great food spots we’d hit are the Undergrind Cafe, Overland Cafe, Perch, Hinoki and the Bird, and then of course Margot for the greatest espresso martini I’ve ever had. At the end, I’d convince my friend to stay another month so we can check off more items from the never-ending list of things to do in LA.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are many people who deserve credit in my story and success. First and foremost, my parents, Erez and Ora, have been the most supportive of my creative endeavors. When I started thinking about career paths in high school, a lot of people didn’t understand my desire to be a filmmaker and thought I should instead go into law or medicine, but my parents encouraged me to not give up on my dreams before I even start pursuing them. Aside from my family, my talented friends and collaborators on countless projects have made me look good and made my job easier. I could not have gotten to where I am without being surrounded by those individuals. There are too many to count, but there are a handful that have been there the longest. Tom, Chase, Heston, Safar, Max, Jen, Cody, Ben, and Kyle — thanks for the many years of friendship and support.

Website: https://www.almogaa.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/almog.aa/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/almoga/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/almog.antonir/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/almostcool

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