DreamWorks Animation

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DreamWorks Animation Reviews in Redwood City, CA

Updated Jul 19, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

3.6 35 reviews

82% Approve of the CEO

DreamWorks Animation CEO and Director Jeffrey Katzenberg

Jeffrey Katzenberg

(28 ratings)

76% of employees recommend this company to a friend

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)

  • r&d has trouble retaining good engineers but management will not admit the problem is poor management(in 6 reviews)

35 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews
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    Great company to work for, a bit unorganized.

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee) Redwood City, CA

    ProsGreat 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.

    ConsVery 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 Senior ManagementGenerally great. No suggestions.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    Useless job for a R&D engineer

    R&D Engineer (Former Employee) Redwood City, CA

    Pros1) Free (unhealthy) breafast and lunch
    2) Can't think of anything else

    Cons1) Doing a crap & useless job as a R&D Engineer using age old tools. The quality of job doesn't match the intellectual capability of the person. I have seen some world class renderers & OpenGL experts doing some scripting, bug fixing and maintenance work (and now they are much happier in other jobs after leaving Dreamworks).
    2) Working with technically incompetent colleagues, who have been working in the company for 10 - 15 years. They know nothing about whats going on in the technology sector and working for 2 - 3+ years in Dreamworks as a R&D engineer is a sure recipe for unemployment n future outside movie industry. On this note, the new colleagues (R&D engineers, most of them having MS/Phds in 3D graphics related areas) whom I met & interacted with at Dreamworks are top notch and all of them have left the company in the last few years (most of them, including me are working at either Google, Apple, etc) after ~1 - 3 years at Dreamworks.
    3) Horrible compensation for a R&D engineer; no stock benefits, low 401K match. Of late, the yearly raise has been minimal due to poor performance of Dreamworks (stock declines 35% in 2014) and the yearly bonuses have been nonexistent.

    Advice to Senior ManagementNot sure what to say here as I feel this kind of job in a movie industry is unsuitable and non-interesting for a R&D engineer, who can work on more stimulating problems in tech sector. But they should surely think of a better compensation, performance reviews (I didn't have any during my 2 years), etc.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    2 people found this helpful  

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

    Lighting TA (Former Employee) Redwood City, CA

    ProsVery 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.

    ConsThe 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 Senior ManagementFocus 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.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    1 person found this helpful  

    Great place to work

    Software Engineer (Current Employee) Redwood City, CA

    ProsLots 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.

    ConsSurprising 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 Senior ManagementGive 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.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee) Redwood City, CA

    ProsYou 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.

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

    Advice to Senior ManagementKeep doing what you are doing!

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Great culture and awesome employees

    Research and Development Supervisor (Former Employee) Redwood City, CA

    ProsThe 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.

    ConsCommunication 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 Senior ManagementBe 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.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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

    Software Engineer (Current Employee) Redwood City, CA

    ProsThey 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!

    ConsThe pay is below market value.

    Advice to Senior ManagementIf you want to be a technology company, improve the incentives for engineers.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Brilliant!

    Technical Director (Former Employee) Redwood City, CA

    ProsThe 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....

    ConsThe salary is sort of low

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    3 people found this helpful  

    Worthless job, low salary and outdated technology

    R&D Engineer (Former Employee) Redwood City, CA

    Pros1) Free (unhealthy) lunch, even though the quality is deteriorating.

    Cons1) 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.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    1 person found this helpful  

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

    Production Assistant (Current Employee) Redwood City, CA

    ProsThere 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.

    ConsHigh 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 Senior ManagementBe 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.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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