I've heard from friends that just relocated to Seattle, that people there are not used to commuting very far. LA, on the other hand, is a driving city. According to Google Maps, the 14.4 mi drive from the Kodak theater to the Santa Monica pier will take 29 minutes, and up to 70 minutes in traffic (I'd say sometimes longer); that's taking the 10 freeway. And taking the 17.3 mile Sunset Blvd route to the Pacific Coast Highway will take about 42 minutes (no freeway).
Wherever you live, you can split the difference between the beach and work. Santa Monica and the Palisades, directly on the coast, are nice, as are, a little bit inland, Brentwood and Mar Vista. You actually have a lot of options, depending on exactly how close to the beach you are talking about. And of course budget. (I'm wondering if you have a price in mind?)