CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: 2017 Fellowship to theOffice

Looking for a writer’s sanctuary? A place where you can leave the distractions of life behind and sit down in peace to put words on the page? That’s what we offer here at theOffice – a quiet, communal workspace on the westside of Los Angeles. We have a roster of A-list screenwriters, novelists and more, but sometimes the cost of membership can be too much for up-and-coming writers. That’s why we started our free fellowship over 7 years ago and we’re thrilled once again to offer it to you.


It works like this:

You send us a sample of your best piece of writing along with a short email explaining why this fellowship is right for you. Our judges select one winner who will receive 6 months of free 24/7* access to the space. This is equivalent to a Premium Membership, the highest level of membership we offer, worth upwards of $2700. The winner gets a private door code to access the space even when staff isn’t here. You wanna write at 2AM on a Wednesday night? The space is all yours. You also get all the other perks of membership including free coffee/tea, Wifi, Aeron workstations and all the peace and quiet you need to get the job done.

theOfficeThis year’s fellowship starts September 1st and goes through February 28th, 2018. It is completely free to enter. The winner will be announced the last week of August. Open to all new/aspiring/up-and-coming writers who are looking to kick their productivity into overdrive. Think of this as your own writer’s retreat right here in the city.

This year’s fellowship will be judged by 3 current members of theOffice:

Mark Cullen
A Hollywood vet and longtime member here at theOffice, Mark is the creator of numerous TV shows including Mr. Robinson (with Craig Robinson), Back in the Game (James Caan), Heist, Gary the Rat (Kelsey Grammer) and Lucky (John Corbett). He also co-wrote the feature Cop Out (with Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan).

Nicole LaPorte
Nicole is a contributing writer for Fast Company magazine, where she writes about entertainment business and technology. She was formerly a Senior West Coast reporter for Newsweek/The Daily Beast, and a monthly columnist for the New York Times Sunday Business section. She’s also the author of The Men Who Would Be King: Moguls, Movies and a Company called DreamWorks.

David Scarpa
David’s screenplay All the Money in the World made the 2015 Blacklist and is currently filming with Ridley Scott at the helm, starring Mark Wahlberg, Kevin Spacey and Michelle Williams. Other screenwriting credits include The Day the Earth Stood Still (Keanu Reeves, Jennifer Connelly, Kathy Bates) and The Last Castle (Robert Redford, James Gandolfini, Mark Ruffalo).

Pretty cool, right? Okay, so here’s what we need from you…

  1. An email with your contact information: Full name, phone, and email address. We will contact the winner via email.
  2. In the body of the email, please briefly explain why you want this fellowship and what you hope to gain from it.
  3. A 10 page pdf writing sample of your work. Attach this to the email. Your best 10 pages. Do not submit pages that need to be set up or explained. Send 10 pages that stand alone. Only pdf submissions please. All other attachments will be deleted.

Email to: by August 8th, 2017. That’s it. You’re done!

theOffice3Some important points to remember:

  • Do your research on theOffice. Don’t submit if you’re not local, if you’re not sure you’ll be available, if you don’t like writing in a room with others. If you live across town and hate the commute, this isn’t right for you. If you don’t flourish in a quiet space, skip it. We want this to be of major value to the winner. Serious submissions only, please.
  • If you’ve never been to theOffice and would like to try things out before submitting, please do! We offer a FREE WEEK to all newcomers. Just be sure to call or email us first, on the day, for availability. Contact info here. More photos of the space here.
  • The fellowship is open to ALL up-and-coming writers. Submit 10 pages of your screenplay, play, short story, novel, memoir, poem, article, etc. We’ll read it all.
  • By “up-and-coming” we mean you can have no feature film credits as a writer on IMDb (short films are okay) and no more than 1 hour of television credit as a writer on IMDb. For authors, we just want to make sure you’re not someone with a three book deal and money to spare. This is for new/aspiring/struggling writers only.
  • DEADLINE TO ENTER IS AUGUST 8th, 2017. No submissions accepted past midnight PST.
  • You must have sole writing credit for the sample pages you submit. This fellowship is for one (1) free premium membership and is non-transferable.
  • If you have any questions, please either comment here, email or ask us on Twitter: @theOffice_LA. theOffice staff will NOT be able to assist you with the fellowship, so please DO NOT call, email, or drop by theOffice with fellowship questions.
  • Current members of theOffice are not eligible.
  • Winner will be notified and announced by August 31st.

This is an opportunity to take your craft and career to the next level. If you are looking for a place to be inspired, a place to write with the big guns, a place to get it done, submit now. We look forward to reading your work!theOffice Exterior

*theOffice is closed to ALL members on Mondays 6PM-11PM and Saturdays 8AM-10AM due to outside rentals. Otherwise, the space is yours.

Writing Advice – Neil Strauss

I was listening to an old Tim Ferriss podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show, recently, a guy who is well known for dissecting the essence of excellence, and he was interviewing Neil Strauss about what made him such a great writer. The whole episode is worth listening to, but this particular part about drafts, and what the purpose of each one should be stuck out particularly for me. I think it was some great advice, and could work well for other writers in the making.

The first draft is for me. It’s very common, says Strauss, for a novice writer to want to produce publishable pages on the first pass. If you do that, you’ll never get past the first chapter. Your first draft is just for you. The purpose is to get it all out of your head. You’ll write too much, and you won’t say it well, but at least everything you want to say will be out there, on pages in front of you, and not swimming around in your head.

The second draft is for your reader. Go through it again and think about what that reading experience will be like. Remove anything that’s not interesting and necessary.

The third draft is for the hater. Go through it and anticipate those criticisms, and make it hater-proof.

Quote of the Day – Jack Kerouac

I think what Jack meant to say was “It’s not what you write, but how you write it.” Jack should take some English classes if you ask me.

Okay, enough bad jokes. This tiny little quote holds a lot of weight! If a story isn’t working for you, it might not be what you’re trying to say. It could be how you’re saying it. Maybe you need to throw a character in, or change the way you describe something. Maybe you need to take some of the description out of there is too much, or add a bit of dialogue to get a better feel for the character. There are many ways to mix things up! Think about why the story isn’t working, and try a few things and see what you like best.

The story is inside of you. You just have to let it out.

Plot Twists – Planet of the Apes Edition

This summer has had some great movies, especially in the past few weeks. My favorite so far has been “War for the Planet of the Apes.” This trilogy is one of the best that I’ve seen in years, and I feel like it’s flying under the radar for some reason. It’s just amazing to me how different and unique each ape is, and how real they feel. The acting in this movie is impeccable, and makes you really wonder if you should be rooting for the humans or the apes. I just had to give a shout out for my furry friends.

Speaking of the movie, this series has been known for it’s plot twists. A plot twist can make or break a story. There are many trilogies in the making that have seen their downfall after the plot twist at the end of a first otherwise good movie. Two of my favorites that stand out are “The Matrix” and “Back to the Future.” Watch out, because where we’re going, there are no roads…

Here’s a great video about the strange plot twists that have made “Planet of the Apes” so famous.


06subsaunders1-articleLarge-v2.jpgWhy do we love our writing teachers so much? Why, years later, do we think of them with such gratitude? I think it’s because they come along when we need them most, when we are young and vulnerable and are tentatively approaching this craft that our culture doesn’t have much respect for, but which we are beginning to love. They have so much power. They could mock us, disregard us, use us to prop themselves up. But our teachers, if they are good, instead do something almost holy, which we never forget: they take us seriously. They accept us as new members of the guild. They tolerate the under-wonderful stories we write, the dopy things we say, our shaky-legged aesthetic theories, our posturing, because they have been there themselves.

We say: I think I might be a writer.

They say: Good for you. Proceed.

George Saunders via The New Yorker