DreamWorks Animation

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DreamWorks Animation Reviews in Redwood City, CA

Updated July 9, 2014
Updated July 9, 2014
164 Reviews

3.6
164 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
DreamWorks Animation CEO and Director Jeffrey Katzenberg
Jeffrey Katzenberg
127 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • They serve free breakfast and lunch every day (in 29 reviews)

  • Family atmosphere, training opportunities, moving screenings and free food (in 29 reviews)


Cons
  • Doesn't even cover the cost of living (in 6 reviews)

  • Doing a crap & useless job as a R&D Engineer using age old tools (in 7 reviews)

More Highlights

34 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    Great company to work for, a bit unorganized.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Redwood City, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Redwood City, CA

    I have been working at DreamWorks Animation full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Great employee perks such as free breakfast, lunch and often happy hours. Fun employee events and classes you can take whenever. People are generally happy to work there, great artists.

    Cons

    Very busy all the time. Lots of overtime. Perhaps that's just the industry though. Also, pay is pretty low to combat the expensiveness of living in the SF Bay Area.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Generally great. No suggestions.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2. 2 people found this helpful  

    A very cozy place to work in an industry full of sharks

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Lighting TA  in  Redwood City, CA
    Former Employee - Lighting TA in Redwood City, CA

    I worked at DreamWorks Animation full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Very human place to work, with progressive attitudes about employees. Management is amazingly transparent, especially Katzenberg. Fun and moderately glamorous projects to work on. Lots of booze to keep the troops happy.

    Cons

    The old guard is very stuck in their ways, slowing the adoption of more efficient techniques. Dreamworks gets no respect when it comes to awards. Not a good place if you are borderline alcoholic.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Focus on the core business of films, and stop trying to be Disney. Look at what the rest of the industry is doing with lighting and compositing and force your comfy supervisors to change.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Engineer  in  Redwood City, CA
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Redwood City, CA

    I have been working at DreamWorks Animation full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Lots of interesting technical problems to solve. Relaxed approach, very little in the way of pressure or deadlines. You get to see your software used by amazing artists to make movies ... with your name in the credits :) Incredible sports & fitness facilities at Redwood City campus. Great art classes ... painting, improv, stop motion, sculpture ... you name it. CEO Katzenberg is incredibly open and emails everyone summaries of what he's been up to every day or two.

    Cons

    Surprising amount of bureaucracy/corporate culture for such a creative place. Having software teams answerable to movie executives with no understanding of software development can get silly at times and leads to engineering managers spending too much time keeping the people above them happy. Overly complex software environment means it takes quite a while to learn the ropes as a new person.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Give engineering teams more freedom to figure out how to do engineering. Let engineering managers pay more attention to those below them. Address excessive complexity of software environment.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5.  

    Amazing place to work at - Great company culture and surrounded by creative people everyday!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Redwood City, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Redwood City, CA

    I worked at DreamWorks Animation full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    You get to watch a project come to life and see the many creative minds that work to get it done. Great people at the company. They really make it feel like you are apart of a team.

    Cons

    It takes awhile to move up within the company and the pay is not great for production staff.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep doing what you are doing!

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6.  

    Great culture and awesome employees

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Research and Development Supervisor  in  Redwood City, CA
    Former Employee - Research and Development Supervisor in Redwood City, CA

    I worked at DreamWorks Animation full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    The cultural, artistic and technical diversities of talent at the studio are world renowned! I am very fortunate to work with some of the top computer artists, developers and production personnel in the industry! I made so many lifelong friends that are now family. Unlike most animation studios, there is a vast amount of collaborating and knowledge sharing that goes on. It doesn't have that 'freelance' mentality. Plenty of extra curricular activities and perks.

    Cons

    Communication from Senior Management is inconsistent. Management training and career development is pretty weak. Annual management classes are held for a select group but there is no follow up training as a 'check up'. Policies are created and aren't strictly adhered to. Management shares news and then their actions are contradictory.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be honest about career advancement opportunities and don't make false promises. Get to know the people you are managing and leverage off of their strengths. It feels like annual reviews harp on the negative aspects of employees as a plot to keep salaries down, as opposed to looking for opportunities to exploit their talents and aspirations. Take the time to find out what the employee's career goals are and help them reach them.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    Great perks, but technology takes a back seat to movie production.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Engineer  in  Redwood City, CA
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Redwood City, CA

    I have been working at DreamWorks Animation full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    They serve free breakfast and lunch every day. The studio is full of talented people from all walks of life. You get your name in the credits of major motion pictures!

    Cons

    The pay is below market value.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    If you want to be a technology company, improve the incentives for engineers.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    Brilliant!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Technical Director  in  Redwood City, CA
    Former Employee - Technical Director in Redwood City, CA

    I worked at DreamWorks Animation as an intern for less than a year

    Pros

    The company invests a lot in training its employees. The job is demanding but the co-workers are some of the best one can have
    Free food on campus, movie screenings....

    Cons

    The salary is sort of low

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. 6 people found this helpful  

    Worthless job, low salary and outdated technology

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - R&D Engineer  in  Redwood City, CA
    Former Employee - R&D Engineer in Redwood City, CA

    I worked at DreamWorks Animation full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    1) Free (unhealthy) lunch, even though the quality is deteriorating.

    Cons

    1) In one word, its a useless job for a R&D engineer. There is no emphasis on cutting edge technology and working 3+ years in Dreamworks is a sure passage for unemployment in future outside the movie industry.
    2) Quality of colleagues (the ones who have stayed in Dreamworks for a long term): Most of the newer colleagues have left within 2 - 3 years for better opportunities in the hi-tech industry. There are a somewhat small percentage of people in the R&D team who have been in Dreamworks for 10+ years. I had dreadful experience working with them and they have no idea of whats going on outside in the technology world. Its good for me, that I left within 1 and 1/2 years and I have seen at least 15 engineers do the same; so in the hindsight, it was a good choice!
    3) Low salary compared to tech industry: Poor base salary, low bonus in the past few years, no stock benefit (no RSUs, ESPP), poor 401K match and minimal raise. I have worked or have got offers from Google, Apple, Microsoft and Adobe and from that I can say that the difference in overall compensation package is significant.

    To sum up, the stagnation in the company and the poor quality of work can have disastrous effect on the career of an engineer.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 3 people found this helpful  

    You/they can do better

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Redwood City, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Redwood City, CA

    I worked at DreamWorks Animation full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Free food
    Amazingly talented artists
    Very technical engineers
    Great, hardworking artists, producers, and scientists
    Friendly upper management
    Coolest editorial staff

    Cons

    Total middle-management nightmare.
    Some of the middle managers would sell their firstborn child to appear that they actually have something to contribute.
    Way too many politicians preventing true creatives and people to expand their work into new areas.
    Major cutthroats everywhere.
    Punished for thinking outside the box or working "above your pay grade" or improving any process at all.
    Management does not take feedback well, and in many cases will use it to make you feel the pain of what you are providing feedback on.
    You're just another expendable resource that can be replaced by people working for less than a living wage in an underdeveloped country's studio.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You might have me pegged as one of those disgruntled types, but I will tell you -- every-single-person in my department and others had the same impression after working there. People I talked to that had worked there, and still do after 5 years, complain about the back-breaking hours, the lack of compensation, the lack of appreciation, and the inability to work their way up. This is primarily in the Redwood City studio that this review is referring to, and I have only heard good things about Glendale. The Redwood City studio is non-union, and they take full-advantage of that fact.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Looks great on paper, but not worth the hard work, time or effort.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Production Assistant  in  Redwood City, CA
    Current Employee - Production Assistant in Redwood City, CA

    I have been working at DreamWorks Animation full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    There are many wonderful artists and coworkers I worked with who were brimming with talent. I made many friends. Events were fun. Lunches were provided, but work hour was unpaid, often work through lunch and beyond. Benefits package is great.

    Cons

    High stress. Big egos. Politics. An unreasonable work load. Constant stress of being laid off with little to no notice. Little to no recognition for hard work. Unfair, unacceptable pay. Doesn't even cover the cost of living. No one will look out for you, it's every man for himself environment, which is a shame considering someone who left the company kindly volunteered this wise advice, but it seemed too harsh to believe. I ended up learning the hard way.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be more respectful, practice an open door policy to those who work for you to strengthen morale. Withholding important information only slows progress. Pay production staff a living wage. Starting folks out at $10 an hour is ludicrous. The government recently stepped in to have our wages raised to $13 an hour at a 45+ hour work week.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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