Home > Uncategorized > Thoughts From AWP: The U.S. Economy & Its Impact On The Industry

Thoughts From AWP: The U.S. Economy & Its Impact On The Industry

July 19, 2012

AWP New York Team (l-r) Career Counselor Barbara Lilliston, Career Counselor Supervisor Patch Schwadron, Volunteer Marion Simon, National Director Kathy Schrier, Office Coordinator/ Job Developer Billie Levinson, Career Counselor Ell Miocene and Education Coordinator Richard Renner.

The election season is in high gear, and The Actors Fund Work Program’s (AWP) recent e-newsletter took a look at the current state of the U.S. Economy, and how some of AWP‘s participants are using their industry skills in the more traditional work world. One of The Actors Fund‘s many programs and services, AWP assists entertainment industry and performing arts professionals in identifying and finding sideline work and new careers. A comprehensive employment and training program committed to fostering resiliency and self-reliance for industry professionals, AWP also provides a resource for referral of highly skilled and creative workers to the larger employment community. 

In today’s blog post, we share AWP eNewsletter’s opening viewpoint, co-authored by AWP’s National Director Kathy Schrier, and Western Region Director John Mattson — and we encourage you to read the latest issue here. For more information on AWP, visit our website

As the days come closer to both the Republican and Democratic conventions—and of course the November 2012 Presidential election—both parties agree that the state of the United States economy is of primary importance to most voters.

AWP Los Angeles Team (l-r) Career Counselor Joanne Webb, Director John Mattson, and Administrative Assistant Caitlin Sorenson.

Individuals have different perspectives on the economy and what is of the most relevance: hot topics include the federal budget deficit, the amount of consumer debt and the value of stocks and other investment instruments. For The Actors Fund Work Program (AWP) and its members, though, the most important discussion revolves around jobs, and the availability of both industry and non-industry work that respects creative talents and skills.

In terms of industry work, it really is “a tale of two cities,” or in this case, commercial vs. non-commercial work. On one hand, the commercial end of the entertainment and performing arts industry has weathered the 2008 recession. There has been an increase in both film and TV production, and the commercial theater—especially Broadway—has reported record revenues. On the other hand, the non-commercial sector, whether theatre, dance, opera or music, faces the same fiscal issues as other non-profits, including dramatic decreases in government and private funding, and, in many cases, a downturn in ticket sales.

AWP Los Angeles’s newest staff member, Career Counselor Karen Hanen.

Ironically, for AWP members, the challenges of earning a living are not directly affected by the state of the entertainment and performing arts economy. Work is always project based. In other words, Broadway shows eventually close, and work on television shows and movies is often short-term. Since competition is keen for most industry jobs, freelance artists continually need to market themselves. Even a symphony orchestra musician, a dancer or singer in a ballet or opera company will experience periods of unemployment. That’s why everyone in entertainment and the performing arts can benefit from The Actors Fund Work Program!

Times have changed in the work world from 10 years ago. While job opportunities in other sectors of the economy vary depending on the region, industry and occupation, we know that to be competitive today, all job seekers need technical and problem solving skills and must show they can be team players. AWP members have gained many of these skills through their industry work, and AWP staff is highly experienced at helping members “translate” these skill sets to many other professions.

We invite  you to read our most recent newsletter, where we shine our spotlight on several special individuals and alumni of the program who done just that. We also highlight some of our newer programs.

We also invite you to visit our offices or give us a call. (Our counselors work with members across the country). Or if you’re already a member and haven’t stopped by in a while, then re-connect with us and volunteer your services to help others. Together, our AWP community is here to help you “find the work you love and love the work you find.”

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