A group of local writers have found a home-away-from-home at theOFFICE in Downtown.

The Westside is full of writers who roam from cafe to cafe in search of a quiet place to perfect their future prize-winning film, novel or play.

After years of fighting for a table and nearly ruining his back while sitting at the various shops spread throughout town, Aleks Horvat had enough of what he described as “endless distractions.”

Today, thanks to theOFFICE, Horvat and local residents like him no longer have to worry about chatty neighbors or the crisis of what to do with their laptop when it’s time to use the bathroom.

Those who walk into theOFFICE are usually first greeted by a wall of plaques displaying titles like: “Finding Dory”, Land of the Lost” and “NCIS” — all of which were written at the local communal workspace — and manager Wade Gasque, who oversees the day-to-day operations and said theOFFICE is everything a creative workspace should be.

“A lot of the other coworking spaces are really geared towards startups and entrepreneurs so there’s a real coworking feel. The people are chatting. It’s loud. It’s boisterous,” Gasque said. “But this is really the opposite of that. The room is kept quiet and people are really feeding off the energy in the room.”

With a myriad of workstations that include ergonomic chairs and standing desks as well as a trickling fountain that adds to the “unique vibe” of theOFFICE, it’s rare to hear more than the tip-taps of a few dozen keyboards or the sounds of Wade whispering to welcome visitors — some of whom are working a Marvel movie or highly anticipated book.

“We’ve been in this location for a year-and-a-half, but we’ve been in Santa Monica for over 15 years,” Gasque said, describing theOFFICE’s previous location near 26th Street. “We were there since 2004… but we moved and built this out brand new.”

Essentially there are five different workstation types and they’re all configured around a shared workstation in the center, according to Gasque. The walls of the kitchen are soundproofed so clients can enjoy a bite to eat or an opportunity to chit-chat with others. And anybody is welcome to treat themselves to coffee, Red Bull and a snack or two before taking a Skype call outside at one of the tables.

“It’s not always as busy as today, but it’s the new year so everybody’s trying to stick to their resolutions,” Gasque said, mentioning 80 to 90 percent of theOFFICE’s clientele are writers of some kind. “You can find screenwriters, novelists, playwrights and everything else in between,” and the workspace is membership-based (https://theofficeonline.com/membership/) so the cost depends on how much access one needs.

Some people have 24/7 or strictly after-hours access, while others opt to come during business hours from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., according to Gasque.

“What I’ve always found cool is we’re like a family, but, at the same time, you can be as anonymous as you want to be. If you just want to come in, get your work done and leave then you’re free to; or you can hang out in the kitchen, make friends and get to know your peers,” Gasque said. “And that’s why I try so hard to protect the vibe because it’s hard to capture this. You don’t see this anywhere else.”

brennon@smdp.com`

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