BELONGING

For Hollywood Creatives, the Venn App Offers a Better Way to Network

By

Erika Riley

– VOL. 12

The Hollywood Venn community at Hollywood Off-Vine has officially launched, and creatives who live in the downtown LA neighborhood are already enjoying all the Life at Venn app has to offer.

Not only has the community app helped Neighbors meet one another and plan events, it’s also provided creatives a place to promote their work and businesses. The app allows neighbors to chat, create groups for those with like-minded interests, and post messages to the neighborhood at large. 

Crystal Erickson, an audio engineer who’s lived in the Hollywood Off-Vine community since Spring 2020, is one of those creatives. In 2020, she started making candles out of a desire to funnel her newfound free time into something new and creative. 

“I call it my pandemic baby,” she says of her company. “I’ve always wanted to learn how to make candles and during the pandemic it was like everybody had extra time on their hands.” In February 2021 she made things Etsy-official when she launched her company “That Zen Pup” — named after her very chill cockapoo Scooter. 

When the community organizers at Venn introduced themselves and the Life At Venn App early in 2022, Erickson was interested in the concept. After joining the app, she saw how it could be used to meet her neighbors, a rather large community across five buildings. She also used it to post about her business and share news.

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Neighbors in the Hollywood Off Vine complex gather in a shared courtyard too see the latest in events on the app.

 

“I check it regularly just to see what’s going on, and there’s certain group interest posts that everybody’s participating in based on the general feedback the Neighborhood Managers have been getting from the tenants,” Erickson said. “We’re in the heart of Hollywood… so we’re really centralized to pretty much everything industry.”

Through the app, Erickson found several students and alumni of the LA Recording School, at which she was an instructor for several years. She’s also met actors, producers, writers, and musicians. In the app, residents post asking if anybody needs help with self-taped auditions, getting groups together for Coachella, and offering homemade wine to neighbors. In the Life At Venn App, they link professional websites like Soundcloud or Spotify. Erickson has linked her business in her app bio. Neighbors also plug comedy shows, share book recommendations, and provide links to their new music. Venn has supported these efforts by creating an event where neighbors could receive headshots from a professional photographer—key in the creative industry. 

Having seen the results for her own business, Erickson hopes to create more events with the help of the Venn team in the future. “One of the groups we have is ‘Everything Film.’ There are also gamers. There’s common interests in different groups people are joining and having discussions,” Erickson shared. 

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A group of creativeneighbors connected on the app and then met up in the building’s patio for an informal game Apples to Apples.

Erickson, who has teamed with Venn to sell candles during food truck and happy hour events, recently held her own event with the help of Venn and the app: A movie night in the neighborhood’s shared courtyard. She brought out her projector, screen, and sound system and Venn provided the concessions. After teaming up with a neighbor who works as a director and writer and has an extensive film collection, they allowed neighbors to vote on the movie via the app. The winner? “Spiderman: No Way Home.” 

“We have so many different things we could be doing. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to have an art expo,” she commented. “We’ve talked about doing karaoke, which I think would be a huge hit because lots of us here are talented in that way.”

A huge aspect of the Life At Venn app isn’t just networking: It’s about meeting the people around you and fostering a sense of community. Erickson admitted that it’s been hard to get back out and meet people again two years into the pandemic, but that the app has helped her get out of her shell.

“After being cooped up for two years, people are just kind of peeking out the door frame and thinking of going out there,” she said. “It’s definitely been good for everybody to connect after being disconnected for so long.”