We had the good fortune of connecting with Moon Shavit and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Moon, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
I’m still figuring that one out. Today I feel like the only way to navigate work life balance is to have no boundaries. That might seem depressing, but I get a lot of relief from that attitude. When I work, I spend a lot of time in a limbo zone, which is neither strictly work nor life. It’s somewhere in between. I try to build characters in that limbo when I’m acting and writing. When I’m acting, I spend a lot of time thinking about the character. Then at some point I start thinking like the character in my personal life, organically. As a writer (in the old days!) I could go to a cafe and work on my laptop and feel like a grown up with a dayjob. After I finish writing, I can close my laptop and walk away. However, the truth is that even when I’m not writing, I’m thinking about work all the time. I feel like our generation will have to face the fact that professions in general are moving away from a strict 9 to 5. Rather than being upset with my work life balance (or lack of balance), I’ve had the great joy to do something that I love, so that I don’t always mind when work encroaches on my personal life.
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.
I’m an actor and a writer. I’ve always felt comfortable imagining how other people feel. Right now I’m working on a story about the Yeminite Children Affair. It gives me great relief to take a break from the here and now so that I can enter another’s skin. I feel like I’ve been doing that for a long time. The hardest part of my professional journey has been starting to understand that my voice has value. Growing up I attended art school where I majored in dance, but focused on having a laugh with my friends. Years later, as I was discovering acting, I found it ironic that during my time in school I hadn’t really noticed that my school was an artistic greenhouse. (This is an expression in Hebrew that in English might be similar to saying that I was raised on artistically fertile ground. It describes a safe space where those within it can grow and thrive.) Later I realized how much that time shaped me. I have a strong perspective and taste that was formed outside of class, hanging out with my friends. The way that my mother set the table growing up is as much a part of my writing and acting today as is my time in art school. I have always learned from working with others. I wrote a feature film Don’t Forget Me together with my friends Ram Nehari and Nitai Gvirtz. With the creation of Don’t Forget Me, I realized that I will be honing my voice forever as I change; and that that’s okay as long as it’s honest. The process of forming your opinion can be public. You don’t need to wait until you’ve reached a conclusion to be able to open the conversation. It can be fun and freeing to wonder with friends, to wonder with strangers. During one of the screenings of Don’t Forget Me, I sat in a movie theatre on the other side of the world. As part of the audience, I was able to see and hear others’ reactions to our work. I could hear them snort or breathe heavily and I didn’t care whether they reacted at the “right” moment or in the “right” way. I just cared that they felt something. I understood that my wondering out loud had value for the audience; that they would leave the movie theatre having undergone a change that I catalyzed.
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?
This question makes me laugh because I moved to LA in the summer of 2019. I had just enough time to scope out my favorite cafe to write before it closed due to a global pandemic. I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t much like the coffee in LA anyway, so it wasn’t a huge loss. What I’ve gotten to see of LA is admittedly limited. But during this weird, weird time, I’ve appreciated how easy it is to take a quick drive and end up somewhere that looks like wilderness—even when I’m still inside the city. Some of my favorite spots in LA include: Little Tokyo, the hammock on my balcony, and my local Trader Joe’s.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I grew up in Haifa, in Israel where there’s a small cinema called the Cinemateque. It used to host all kinds of special screenings. My favorites were their screenings of live music; things like rock concerts with lectures hosted by a bona fide expert—a rocker dude from my town. Even though he wasn’t my age, he felt like a pal. My friend Ronnie introduced me to these events when I was fifteen. The Cinemateque also used to host screenings of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. My big sister, who I looked up to, played the role of Magenta. I remember being carried away by the characters, the show, and the cinema itself. I think that was the first time I realized that I could be inspired by another person’s energy, no matter who that person was.
From “Shtisel”, Gauthier guignon, From “Don’t forget me” Dic. Ram Nehari, Yardenrok Photography