Laika, Inc Reviews

Updated July 10, 2015
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Travis Knight
19 Ratings

39 Employee Reviews

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  1. Be passionate or don't apply

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Production Assistant in Portland, OR
    Former Employee - Production Assistant in Portland, OR

    I worked at Laika, Inc full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great flicks. Good people.

    Cons

    It's a grind. You will need to care more about the process and the particulars of this kind of filmmaking than you do, say, about your family. Don't apply if you can't do that.

    Advice to Management

    Keep making great movies.


  2. Helpful (2)

    Great people - hard to move up

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Sequence Supervisor
    Former Employee - Sequence Supervisor

    I worked at Laika, Inc

    Pros

    There isn't a more talented stop motion group in the world.

    Cons

    Managment and upward mobility. There can 've a fair amount of political jockeying as well.


  3. Helpful (6)

    Great potential but not achieving it.

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

    I worked at Laika, Inc

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Co workers are amazing and talented. Company has great potential. Using cutting edge technology in innovative ways.

    Cons

    Management, HR, and facilities are uninformed and unresponsive. Very poor communication within the company. Employees are increasingly pigeon-holed, and upward mobility is almost impossible.

    Advice to Management

    Art is not created by accountants. Upper management needs to figure out who is really a contributing asset, and who is a drag on the company. Some long-trusted employees are preventing the company from progressing. Moral was poor when I was there, and now it sounds worse. Hint: 4 o'clock recess and free junk food does not make satisfied workers.


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  5. Helpful (8)

    Substandard conditions, pay, culture

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

    I have been working at Laika, Inc full-time (More than 5 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    The best stop-motion animation crew in the world.

    Cons

    Poor environmental working conditions, long commute, not family friendly, stagnant wages, mismanagement, and low-morale in addition to the other criticisms on this site. The stages where animation takes place and the crew toils is an unconditioned space where summer temperatures often escalate well into the 90's. It is a hot, dark, hellish environment with an often grinding schedule. Currently, the crew is offered moist bandannas and cool drinks in a feeble attempt to keep the production moving forward. No plans to condition the space have been announced. In the winter, it can be uncomfortably cold. The infrastructure of the building is mismanaged by amateurs with little professional training in the subject. Laika has recently broken ground on an expansion of the building, so it would seem they are putting down deep roots in this location. All the while, the current space remains unimproved. Portland is experiencing an explosion in population which is projected to double in the near future. As a result, what was once a 25 minute commute to Portland from Hillsboro, (Laika's current location) is now often over an hour and projected to only increase once it's neighbor, Intel finishes a major expansion. One could choose to live in the Hillsboro/Beaverton area if your style was more strip-mall and bedroom community- think LA in the valley, Van Nuys, that sort of thing, minus any culture. , Regardless of position at Laika, it is expected that the job comes first. If you have children or expect to start a family, there are few if any accommodations beyond those required by law. The studio is paranoid about visitors, so limits visits by family/friends anywhere beyond the lobby to only a handful of visits per production. The hours are often long and corrosive to families. Poor planning often leads to inefficient last-minute scrambles to rectify what should have been mapped out preproduction Wages are average or below for the industry and locked to to below-standard cost of living increases. The rationale is that Portland is cheaper, which might have been the case 5 years ago. However, with the current growth, rents have gone through the roof. Employees, company-wide, were recently corralled into awkward mandatory meetings to have their benefits outlined to them in what was one of the most defensive, uncomfortable displays of corporate passive-aggressive behavior I have ever witnessed. So there are, in balance, benefits. Additionally, there is scant opportunity to move up the income scale unless one of the very few middle management slots open up- there is very little mobility within this company. All of the comments regarding nepotism and the lack of opportunity for growth in these reviews are accurate. Management has done little to alleviate the climate of fear that comes from a project-based crew. Any squeaky wheels are simply not invited back to the next production. The early days of each production often see multiple firings which only serve to remind all of the tenuousness of their position. Travis Knight remains insulated from the opinions of those negatively impacted by his management team. There is no evidence to indicate any changes in the works that might one day rectify this. Management and HR are old-school at best and have shown a surprising lack of creativity in their feeble attempts to improve the corporate culture at this company. Laika has great ambitions for growth, but their management team continues to underwhelm. One has to wonder how a company can propose to expand when they seem so inept at managing the resources (especially the human ones) they are currently so lucky to have.

    Advice to Management

    Pay these people a lot better, accommodate them in humane conditions, treat them like they matter. No, neither a company barbeque, nor a complementary beverage will do.


  6. Helpful (12)

    Don't. Just don't.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Animator in Hillsboro, OR
    Former Employee - Animator in Hillsboro, OR

    I worked at Laika, Inc full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    - Increased ability to disassociate from a suffering-, anger- and tension- filled environment. - Cerebral synapse exponential growth for comprehension of different and conflicting directions given on a day to day basis, sometimes more frequently. - Front row arena seats to blood thirsty, power and ego battles, at all hierarchical levels. - Witness varied individual reenactments of Shakespeare's famous "Julius Caesar". Practice and proper delivery of the line, "Et tu, Brutus?" in a wounded gasp of betrayal guaranteed. - Experience to later participate in LaikaPTSD support groups (meet every Tuesdays and Fridays, plus 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Monday of every month). Interested in starting a franchise? - Direct observation and interaction with the artists themselves in their natural environments. Marvel at their gorgeous creations, genius solutions, emotional motions. "They are incredibly talented, so dedicated, work themselves to the bone and are amazing all-around individuals," raves one reviewer.

    Cons

    Nearly anything above the artists. Management is unbelievably petty and irrational. Never seen the amount of strife and firings due to political urinating contests in my previous decade of film industry work. Gender-specific harassment straight out of the 90's. Years of complaints about department managers are swept under the rug by HR. If you stand up to any of this, prepare to be given your 2 weeks' notice. Also be prepared to get struck by crossfire in the power struggles. No one is immune to this, not even directors or producers. If you're doing any practical work (as opposed to CG) and are not an animator, be prepared to earn a few dollars above minimum wage. With some exceptions, no raises given after years of service, even when promoted onto new responsibilities. There are no cost-of-living yearly raises as in similar sized companies. Women earn a considerable less amount of money for the same job as men (even when more experienced) and it is a significantly wider pay discrepancy than seen in the rest of the country. Currently, it is stipulated in their contracts that employees are expressly forbidden to discuss salary with co-workers as a result of conflicts brought up when practical vs. cg and men vs. women's pay became topics of conversation. Artists are unhappy and stressed and fearful of retaliatory moves/firings by management. Plus Laika will sometimes fight employees it dismisses on their unemployment claims. This has become common enough that the Portland law community is very familiar with this practice. Laika does bring out the big guns in these cases, mainly lawyers from the father's company, which is viewed unfavorably by the courts. Yes, I realize most of this is hearsay to you. However, it was either personally experienced or experienced by a close co-worker/friend that I spoke with directly or contacted myself to verify. None of this is 3rd party account. Do not fall into the propaganda that Laika shills for itself: an artist friendly, family loving company. It sure does look pretty from the outside... just don't go looking behind the curtain. In short, unless you just graduated and need the experience, I could never in good consciousness, recommend working here. Ask any ex-employee.

    Advice to Management

    I wouldn't even know where to begin...


  7. Helpful (12)

    Worst Director Ever - Rapid Prototyping

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Rapid Prototype Modeler in Hillsboro, OR
    Current Employee - Rapid Prototype Modeler in Hillsboro, OR

    I have been working at Laika, Inc full-time (More than 3 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    The majority of people I work with are fantastic, creative individuals. It's an exciting and somewhat rewarding place to work. I have seen some departments flourish with positive, constructive leadership.

    Cons

    Rapid prototyping director is a terrible person. I want to quit based on the fact that I am treated like a puppet and cannot be left alone to create and inspire others around me. Micro-management is not a style most people like to work under. I feel that there is a clique type of culture at this company. I wouldn't recommend working at this place.

    Advice to Management

    Let people be creative and free. Fire mangers that feel as if they run the world because they are in a "Hollywood" type of business. We are in Oregon, not Hollywood.


  8. Helpful (2)

    The product is rewarding, but the process is often tedious.

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

    I have been working at Laika, Inc full-time (More than a year)

    Neutral Outlook
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    exciting end results, good reputation, interesting ans skilled coworkers

    Cons

    Not a lot of job security or prospects for upward mobility in responsibility or pay. Little personal positive reinforcement.

    Advice to Management

    More positive feedback and constructive criticism.


  9. Helpful (4)

    Hard work in costume fabrication

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Costume Fabrication in Portland, OR
    Former Employee - Costume Fabrication in Portland, OR

    I worked at Laika, Inc full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Nice building, excellent talent, beautiful projects.

    Cons

    Long hours, far commute, few windows

    Advice to Management

    More collaborative approach needed.


  10. Helpful (9)

    Could be great

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Corporate in Hillsboro, OR
    Former Employee - Corporate in Hillsboro, OR

    I worked at Laika, Inc full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    People are generally very creative, enthusiastic, and dedicated. The core vision for what the company could be is inspiring and bold. Portland is a nice place to live.

    Cons

    The leadership team is unable to deliver successfully on the vision and discourages dissent. This leads to beautiful little movies built around poor creative that do not hold sufficient appeal for audiences and are less commercially successful each round. The company is poised and run to be more of a hobby than a business. There is a "clique" that consists of rotating bodies around the core management that fall in and out of favor and are replaced.


  11. Helpful (6)

    Runaway

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Animator in Portland, OR
    Former Employee - Animator in Portland, OR

    I worked at Laika, Inc part-time (Less than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    the people there are super talented and nice people.

    Cons

    sadly the head person is bad and the location is even not good since bad traffic and the building is closed and doesnt feel safe at all to me personally.

    Advice to Management

    try to get tot know your workers more than just sitting around and not caring but say you are caring about the workers when in reality you dont.



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