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Meet Michael Monk and Alon Wolman of Monk Space in Koreatown

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michael Monk and Alon Wolman.

Michael and Alon, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Monk Space was established in 2007 as a full-service FILM PRODUCTION STAGE in the center of LA. Located on the edge of Koreatown, convenient to all freeways, we are an adaptive use space housed in 98 years old brick warehouses with tons of character and history. As a full service, alt sound stage we handle big studio productions, small indie shoots, or student filmmakers. All are welcomed, whether big or small! Monk Space joined forces with Springbok Studio in 2013 which added audio post-production to our available services.

THE BUILDING WAS BUILT in 1922 and opened its doors as Hoffman’s Cash and Carry Department Store. There is still an original, perfectly restored advertising billboard on our Lobby Wall. By the late 20s, Hoffman’s went out of business as the country plunged into the Great Depression. It soon reopened, off the grid, during Prohibition as a Speakeasy called the Horseshoe Club! It was rumored to be a hot spot for Swing Jazz, illegal booze and notorious characters of the 1930s. When we took over the building, we did our upmost to restore the warehouses back to their original walls and floors to what you see today!

Our purpose is to serve the creative film community by offering an affordable, convenient, personable environment in which to craft stories. In our spare time, we host a number of community-based music events such as our monthly New Music series, “Tuesday at Monk Space”. We struggle to stay in business with the rising costs of real estate but are grateful for each day that we can continue inspiring others to find their creative voices.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The main struggle, other than a complete shutdown for five months due to Covid-19, has been the rising cost of real estate. We do not own our building but lease. And the rental costs have risen over 560% in 13 years! Also, the competition for alt sound stages has risen. When we started, there were maybe a few dozen known alternative film stages. Now there are literally thousands.

Please tell us about Monk Space.
What we do is cater to small, independent filmmakers. Like many owners, I wear many hats. I am the studio coordinator, marketer, sales point person, all around troubleshooter. Alon, my partner, does our audio engineering for all post-production projects. We are known for our flexible, approachable style. We make you feel at home! I am proud that we have lasted 13 years in a very competitive field.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Determination to never give up and learn from others how to best serve our community.

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