DreamWorks Animation

  www.dreamworksanimation.com
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DreamWorks Animation Reviews

Updated August 14, 2014
Updated August 14, 2014
163 Reviews

3.6
163 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
DreamWorks Animation CEO and Director Jeffrey Katzenberg
Jeffrey Katzenberg
126 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

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    DreamWorks is going through a rough patch, but it's still the best place in the industry to be.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    I love the perks, but stay for the culture. I've never worked somewhere so helpful and friendly.

    Cons

    A number of scandals, including participating in industry-wide wage fixing and an SEC investigation and class-action lawsuit over misstating recent earnings coupled with underperforming movies and a management structure that doesn't seem to be addressing the company's problems make me worry for the future of the company.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Good movies need good stories. Successful movies need marketing. Expanding the brand doesn't matter if the brand is tarnished.

    Negative Outlook
  2. 4 people found this helpful  

    Engineers - avoid unless it's your first job.

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

    Pros

    Free lunch and breakfast
    Nice Glendale campus
    Easy to get a movie credit
    Low stress, in general it's a pleasant place to spend time.

    Cons

    Aging and inept software managers. The seat-warmers rule the roost - if you challenge the status quo with new ideas you're marked. Unless you come up with a great idea, which will be stolen and credit given to the "favorite" engineers. This happened to me at least three times in my 3 years there.

    Low compensation. Lame benefits. HR will try to lock you into a three year contract, which only Dreamworks has option to terminate. Old school Hollywood hardball negotiation tactics - check the news for "DreamWorks wage fixing".

    No opportunity for advancement. Only the golden kids have the good ideas, remember?

    Cliques - if you're not in, you don't exist, your ideas don't matter.

    Honestly, avoid like the plague unless:
    1. You have a burning passion to spend your career as seat warmer in a old Hollywood dinosaur studio.
    2. Or you're a recent grad who'd like some movie credits before moving on to the games industry, where you'll actually learn something.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    1. Lay off every engineer or manager in animation technology who has been there longer than 10 years.

    2. Offer decent tech industry standard wages for all the open positions.

    3. Allow the old staff to re-apply to their positions, while competing with real, qualified tech people.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3.  

    A very big ship that does not adapt well to new ideologies but has great people and resources in the trenches.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Competitive wages. Free breakfast and lunch. Beautiful campus. World class talent in every department.

    Cons

    The films are beautifully crafted with respect to the look, but the stories and projects chosen to go into production are a clear indication of how out of touch the upper executives are with the average moviegoing family. The strong corporate culture is often not conducive to making the most compelling artwork possible. This is a culture of fear that rewards people of clinging to established workflows and ideologies at the peril of innovation. Artists need innovation and the ability to try new things without fear of reprisal.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You have a bunch of intelligent people working for you. Poll them regarding potential projects. Some of the studio's recent releases that have underperformed were easily predicted by people on the floor. We are not uneducated in what kinds of movies people want in the marketplace, and if our recent releases are a true indication of what management thinks the market wants, then I'd dare to say we may actually know better what the average person wants to see.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5.  

    Great Animation Company

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - CFX Artist  in  Glendale, CA
    Current Employee - CFX Artist in Glendale, CA

    Pros

    Free lunch everyday, cool animation projects to work on, lots of room for growth.

    Cons

    No job security anymore, long term contracts are almost a thing of the past

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Come up with logical, quantifiable criteria to evaluate employees. Numbers don't lie

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6.  

    Nice perks, nice people, beautiful campus, A+ cafe

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Internal Audit Department  in  Glendale, CA
    Former Employee - Internal Audit Department in Glendale, CA

    Pros

    Beautiful campus, A+ cafe, nice perks, nice people actively helping you out

    Cons

    No pay or little pay (9 dollar per hour) for intern, no open opportunity for entry level candidate

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    Great place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Rough Layout Artist  in  Glendale, CA
    Former Employee - Rough Layout Artist in Glendale, CA

    Pros

    Stable 9-6 work. Great campus, great people. Benefits are very good. Fun work environment. Free breakfast and lunches. Ever expanding company. Hands on CEO with a vision and direction.

    Cons

    Tough time locking in story, sometimes leads to low morale. Parking isn't the greatest. Recent layoffs due to a movie being shelved, other projects being pushed, and a few poor box office results.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    Great potential for this company but struggling with the vision thing.

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

    Pros

    Dreamworks Animation is has got some amazing artists, both digital and traditional. Every comapny has a few bad apples, but at Dreamworks for every 1 problematic personality you'll work with 50 others who are great people, smart, professional. Can learn a lot from you coworkers there if you keep an open mind. Great benefits, which includes the lush campus in Glendale (this review for Glendale location), "free" breakfast and lunch, fun company events too. Pretty good technology there too, Dreamworks Animation has consistently made heavy investments in advancing their production tools - though that comes with a cost.

    Cons

    Dreamworks Animation constistently has trouble coming up with movies that people can get excited about. The core mission, make animated movies, is what they are struggling with. Many of the lower-level artists, acutally making the films, wonder what the thought process is in the story department and at the executive level that so many films there that start off as great ideas end up as disappointments once finally up on screen. It's not the quality of the graphics, or the voice acting, or the animation itself. It's the story. Disney and Pixar have gotten story right so consistnetly over the years that they can afford a dud here and there. But at Dreamworks Animation dud stories seem to be the rule and great stories the exception. Other: Much of the technology (software) used there is outdated. Training department is ineffective. Very little room for advancement if you are an artist acutally making the film. Several of the art-type departements (like animation) can be very clickish.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Management need to take hard look at their story department and find out why what starts out as a clever idea ends up being boring and in some case borderline offensive once finally in the thearters.

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9.  

    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

    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
  10.  

    Wonderful work environment full of talented people.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Videography Intern  in  Glendale, CA
    Former Employee - Videography Intern in Glendale, CA

    Pros

    Dreamworks has some amazing talent working for them in all departments. They provide several opportunities to advance the skills of their employees. The campus is beautiful and has several amenities that will make you want to stay on campus.

    Cons

    Interns do not get paid, unless you work in the summer. They have not been doing so well at the box office, so there are not very many employment opportunities at the moment. When I was working there, they had major lay offs. Low level employees were some of the first to go.

    Also, they have several resources for training employees. However, getting someone to personally teach you something was difficult. I was often told to consult the studio's wiki, which was often hard to navigate and the information wasn't always up to date.

    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO
  11. 4 people found this helpful  

    Worst job as a R&D engineer

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - R&D Engineer
    Current Employee - R&D Engineer

    Pros

    One can get movie credits and see his/her name on the movie screen. Pretty thats the only brownie point I can think of from the perspective of an R&D engineer

    Cons

    I hope, this list doesn't get too long:
    1) Very poor compensation compared to the other industries. I worked as a R&D engineer at Dreamworks and now work as a Software engineer in one of the big companies like Apple or Google. In 3+ years from the time I left Dreamworks, my overall compensation package (salary + yearly bonus + yearly RSU + 401K match) has nearly doubled (my current compensation package is ~1.8X times my last pay package at Dreamworks).
    2) Minimal stock benefits: no yearly RSU's or any RSU at the time of joining; no ESPP or any other stock benefits
    3) Minimal 401K match
    4) Stagnant manangement consisting of people who have been around for 10+ years
    5) Using computation and software tools from the previous millennium for development work
    6) Stale maintenance work as a R&D engineer; no scope of being at the forefront of technology.
    7) Some of the older colleagues (who have been at Dreamworks) for 10+ years are terrible to work with. I have checked with quite a few newer colleagues who have left Dreamworks around ~2 years and all of them have simile experience.
    8) Of late, no job stability; regular layoffs as Dreamworks itself is in bad shape.

    To sum up, never work here as a R&D engineer; its enough to ruin one's career!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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