Attending the FITC festival in Amsterdam, Julie Campagna interviews Adobe® Flash® developers and designers from around the world to find out how the economic downturn has affected them. Transcript.

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JULIE CAMPAGNA:  Hi, I'm Julie Campagna I manage The Edge Newsletter. This week, we're in Amsterdam attending the FITC Festival. Flash developers, flash designers, interactive artists from all over the world traveled to attend this event. So, we thought this would be a really good time to check in with the Flash community to see how the economy might be impacting them. So come on. Let's go.

JULIE:  Mario, Tell us what you do.

MARIO KLINGEMANN: I'm a computational artisan, and I'm currently working for Aviary.com developing creative and rich Internet applications.

JULIE:  So, you're based out of Germany. How is the economy affecting the world of the Flash community?

MARIO:  Astonishingly, while you hear a lot about other businesses or other economies, but everybody I know has lots of stuff to do. Actually, I don't know anybody who really got badly affected yet.

LIZ MYERS:  Well, it's been up and down. First down. End of last year, the phone calls, the phone got a little quiet. It started to drop off. And then, beginning of this year, I think it was kind of wait and see. Beginning of February. the phone started ringing again. People have got various projects.

WIM VANHENDEN:  Things are speeding up again now. So, it's getting better. Especially for web developers, because there's in the interactive business; there's more business coming out of that now. Yeah.

JULIE:  Rick, you're the technical director at FITC, but you also have the day job working for a newspaper in Toronto. Has your business been impacted by the economy?

RICK MASON:  Yeah, absolutely. The newspapers are driven by ad sales. We're a free weekly and the ad sales directly determine how many pages we can print. So, we've actually seen the paper getting smaller every week for the last few months.

JULIE:  What about the impact on your group that you work for, that's all about more of the online component?

RICK:  For online, it's interesting because this is the future of news. Everybody knows that newspapers are dying and online is where it's going. So, we're actually growing.

JULIE:  So, how many people are in the Amsterdam user group?

BERT HAGENDOORN:  Well, at this point we're talking about more than 1500 official association members.

JULIE:  Now, with all these people and this user group, what is the buzz around the economy?

BERT:  Everybody is talking about it. Everybody is worrying for their job. For freelancers, it is a good climate, though. So, that is positive.

ROBERT REINHARDT:  I personally haven't been feeling any economic down impact from the down turn. I think I've only been back into full self employment mode for the past six months, but it's been a great six months.

STACEY MULCAHEY:  We are starting to see a little bit of a trickle down where less client work. Plus people are willing to spend more money. More calls are coming in, but they are not ready to jump into something. People are doing their research a lot more.

JULIE:  How has the economy impacted your business?

BRANDEN HALL:  I don't want to jinx it, but it's not having an effect yet. We're doing quite well. We're very busy with work.

JULIE:  For those people who might be looking for opportunities, where do you think the biggest growth is?

MARIO:  I see of course that the mobile market is growing more and more.

LIZ:  I do believe that mobile is just taking off. We are like in 1995 with the web.

BERT:  I see mobile definitely, there's a big buzz around it. Right?

WIM:  I think, mobile development will be important. We see a tendency to go back to the desktop as well with the AIR platform. So, I think these are major opportunities for web developers to dive into.

JULIE:  So, do you have any advice for designers or developers who might be looking for work right now?

RICK:  Yeah, absolutely. For too long, I think a lot of developers and designers have been sitting on the skills that they know. They have been content doing ActionScript 2.0 work, and that's been getting them money and getting them jobs. I don't think that's enough any more. They need to move forward. They need to learn ActionScript 3.0. They need to get the latest skills that's out there.

SHAWN PUCKNELL:  I think, now is the time to make sure that your skills are up to par. That you are doing AS3. You're learning some Flex and you have those skills, because there's a need. So, now is the time to get your skills up and to get out there and meet people because the opportunities are there.

JULIE:  So, there you have it. From Amsterdam, Belgium, London, Germany, Canada, it doesn't seem like the Flash community is being impacted too negatively by the economy. But, that's no reason to sit back on your laurels. It's definitely a good time to sharpen those skills. Also be on the lookout for mobile opportunities. That's it! I hope, you enjoyed this edition of The Edge.