Reel FX

www.reelfx.com

Reel FX Reviews

Updated December 7, 2014
Updated December 7, 2014
40 Reviews
2.6
40 Reviews
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Steve O'Brien
6 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    No Return Call

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

    I worked at Reel FX

    Pros

    Very fun and good to work for

    Cons

    Once job was over was told we'll call you back for more, but never received one even after inquiring

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be honest and tell it like it is

  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Reel work in progress

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

    I have been working at Reel FX full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    The production floor people are what have kept this company together. Time and time again have pulled off minor miracles to get projects and shows done and done on time. Pulling the company's rear end out of the fire many times. There is a lot of passion amongst the worker bees on the floor to produce the best product possible given constant lack of resources and the constraints they work under. They have started to make strides in showing some appreciation for the workers by putting in artist management and other personnel. The wrap parties and other events have been a nice thing to show that appreciation. I hope they continue to consistently show this appreciation. Time will only tell

    Cons

    Usually the crew is over worked and certainly not compensated for the many hours of OT put in to get the job done. This has and will continue to be a very sore point between the production floor and upper management. The production pipeline has continued to change with each show where tools and other pipeline functions worked in one version and doesn't work in the next. Again always running very lean with personnel and other resources which makes it difficult to get needed tools and other resources in a timely manor to work efficient and effectively. There's the touting by upper management that we have this great culture but it's more of a just get it done mentality. As I said in pros they are starting to show more appreciation for the head work done by the production floor. . It takes a long time to turn a big ship in the right direction .

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    There needs to be a creative visionary on the level of upper management that can help on that level to move the company in a creative way. Take heed to what the production floor personnel are truly feeling don't just dispense or it in the emotional circular file. If there was more then one studio I dallas doing this level of work at least 80 % of the company would move on. change you mindset

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

    A view from a distance provides clarity

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

    I worked at Reel FX full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Reel FX is home to some great people. They are dedicated to each other, not to the studio, and work very hard to get the projects completed as scheduled. The studio has recently moved into the area of creating their own content and away from the fee-for-service work they've done in the past. Here's hoping that works out well for them.

    Cons

    I remember hearing at school that large visual effects houses were like high schools but with big money added into the mix. Reel FX proved to be like high school as well, but without the big money. The cliques, just like in high school, are pronounced and obvious to anyone who has spent time there in the Dallas studio. Veteran Reel FX employees, the campus seniors, are dead set in their ways and do everything they can to undermine recent hires who may be offering a different way of solving a problem. Upstairs (senior management is located on the second floor) listens to their good buddies on the production floor, as opposed to investigating whether or not the proposed solution has any real value, and the freshman learn quickly to shut up and fall in line or dust off their resume'. This is especially true when it comes to the pipeline, production management and rigging departments.

    As a review of the reviews on this site shows that the studio's policy of not paying overtime has been well documented it seems like beating a dead horse to go any further on that topic here. They don't and they won't.

    There is a marked distaste for the rank and file among the senior management team. The feeling that the artists should just be happy to have jobs seems to color their decision making process. It reminds me of rich people who feel that those on welfare are just too lazy and should work harder to better themselves. "So what, they have to work on the weekends! I did it when I was paying my dues back in the day" but what they won't say is that they, unlike the Reel FX employees, were compensated for those weekend hours. This distaste may be the industry norm and be the case at other studios as well, my experience is limited to Reel FX and my current employer so take that into consideration when vetting my opinion.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    A pretty remodeled studio without artists in residence to do the actual work is like pretty car without any gas in its tank, all of its tires flat and the spark plugs absent. Next time you feel chuffed with your accomplishments remember that without the talent of your crew you are nothing. Nothing at all. Given Reel FX dress code, you can't even be called empty suits. How about big hats, no cattle?

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5. 4 people found this helpful  

    So much potential! But yet. . . so much crap from the boys club upstairs

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

    I have been working at Reel FX full-time

    Pros

    Amazing group of artists and co-workers. One of the best places I've ever worked in my 15 years of experience. These artists work their butts off and care so much about each other and the studio that it's hard not to feel the same way. There is a layer of people in management positions on the floor with the artists that truly care about the people and are trying very hard to make some really good changes. Unfortunately they are in a constant battle with the boys upstairs on what seems to be all issues listed below. . .

    Cons

    No Overtime! The studio keeps shutting down the idea that as an animation studio they need to pay overtime which in fact many (read here: ALL) of the employees feel is some shady way for them to find a loophole with the DOL to just not compensate properly.

    Got technical issues? RFX does! The ever changing pipeline and overall lack of leadership in the technical areas lead to so many issues us artists will literally sit for DAYS not able to work on our assignments. Then guess what happens when their issue is fixed? Overtime! And don't you dare say anything about it or you will be looked at as a bitter and negative employee that just won't "take one for the team."

    Company will constantly beta test new things during an actual production. And they will actually think this is a good idea. . . the most recent (besides the new pipe again of course) is our internal tracking software. Doesn't work and there are no long term plans for it to work.

    It appears that they never do any salary research whatsoever and when they do get experienced people to come to Dallas it's only because of the state of the industry and that artists are desperate for work. It's either change your career, or Reel FX.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    When you actually get people here that have previous studio experience, LISTEN to them. I can guarantee you they know more of what they are talking about than the ex animator or ex lighter does upstairs. Stop allowing people to fail upwards. It does not go unnoticed. Stop playing favorites to the "ole boys network." Just because someone happened to be around 10 years ago when GI Joe was done at the studio does not make them God's gift to animation, it made them convenient at the time. Egos are always to be expected at a certain level in any business but I've NEVER seen them as bad as they are at Reel FX. People are literally frozen in their decisions because their ego literally cannot allow them to move forward. Fix this ASAP or risk losing more really wonderful people.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 2 people found this helpful  

    Producer / Manager

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Producer/Manager in Dallas, TX
    Former Employee - Producer/Manager in Dallas, TX

    I worked at Reel FX full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    Reel FX is still like a family run business. There is very easy access to the upper management, they are personal and friendly. The build is filled will talented people and they are always on the look out for new talent. The creative group and production team in general are some of the most friendly that I have had the pleasure to work with and everyone is dedicated and work very hard.

    Cons

    The cons are they are based in Dallas, so depending on your point of view that could be unattractive. The pay is reasonable but not great and the dead are very tight, but that is true from just about everywhere these days.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7. 3 people found this helpful  

    Yeehaw! It's a boy's club upstairs.......

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Worker Bee in Dallas, TX
    Former Employee - Worker Bee in Dallas, TX

    I worked at Reel FX full-time

    Pros

    Fantastic artists and friendly co-workers - a genuine fun group to work with. They are finally doing some fun classes for the employees which is long overdue. A good place to advance your career as you will be asked to take on way more than you are used to doing at other studios.

    Cons

    UPPER MANAGEMENT.
    They are the number one reason for the inefficiencies, horrible communication, and general mismanagement of resources. Quite a few of them do not actually possess the skills required to adequately perform their job - in fact the one thing they all seem to have in common is their church membership and graduation from Texas A&M. Actual previous experience in their position? Not needed when you fail upwards.

    DEEP ELLUM.
    It's a crappy area with a high crime rate and loads of homeless people. I was literally scared to walk to my car when working late for fear of being mugged or harassed. Its not artsy, its not cool, and its certainly not safe almost all hours of the day, but especially after 7pm.

    NO OVERTIME PAY.
    Artists work so hard because of equipment and or management inadequacies that the promised 40-50 hour work week is typically 60+ even before you hit a crunch period. Giving "discretionary" days based on favoritism is not a way to reward people for working extra hard. If you insist on not paying people for upper management's continual poor decisions, than at least put in an adequate bonus structure or give people a reason to stay. Not seeing your children and significant others for weeks at a time and watching executives fly out of the building at 5pm or earlier is not a great morale booster.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    If you keep promoting failure at the very top, this company will continue to flounder.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    okay for a first job, but wasted potential

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

    I worked at Reel FX as a contractor (more than a year)

    Pros

    reelfx is the only animation studio in texas so if you are in texas and want to work in animation it's your one and only choice. I came in through their apprentice program. that program was great but i think they have stopped doing it.

    Cons

    it's okay. the studio feels like a group of people who could not get jobs at the big studios. full disclosure that was my reason for accepting their offer. the pay is okay. the no overtime rules is stupid. every other studio pays overtime but this one. when i was an apprentice i got paid overtime. then they made me a junior animator and i was doing the exact same stuff as when i was an apprentice and but they took my overtime away. i don't know how that's even legal. management is okay too. they seemed like they were afraid of talking to the crew. meetings with them were only once and a while. no real open communication. it felt like they were just making up stuff as they went along. i got friendly with some of the guys who had been there a while and they said its always been that way. management would come out and give some big rah-rah speech about stuff like a bonus to get everyone's morale up and then nothing would ever happened.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    peoples lives are not toys. you cant make them work weekends without paying them and then say you are all family friendly. my best advice is to treat the people from the apprentices to the supervisors the same way you'd want to be treated. would you like to be told you have to work and not get paid for doing it? would you like to work your keester off and get a teeny raise and be told you were lucky to even be getting that?

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9. 2 people found this helpful  

    place to learn.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Technical Director in Dallas, TX
    Current Employee - Technical Director in Dallas, TX

    I have been working at Reel FX full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    nice enviroment to work, flexible schedules (as long you keep up with your work)
    great place to learn and move on.

    Cons

    no job security.
    low pay.
    managment doesnt know whats going on, i mean reallyyou could as for a shot asset and will take 3 days to come back to you with the wrong information.

    after each project they get ride of the people and they bring interns, so they have to re learn everything back again for every project (as if they were paying them much lower)

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    do you need that many? if they dont even know whats going on, shoulndt be better having just one that doesnt know?
    or better just get 1 that knows.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  10. 4 people found this helpful  

    Avoid like the plague

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

    I worked at Reel FX full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    If you like crappy animation, and giant piles of dog food in your office, this is the place for you

    - Fun people to slave alongside
    - A place to learn how not to do things

    Cons

    RFX writes checks they can't cash and then burns out their artists to meet ungodly deadlines. This company has been built on false promises and burned bridges.

    - Extra Work / Low Pay - No Incentive (will dangle the carrot and not follow through)
    - No Creative Leadership - Pixar = Lasseter, Dreamworks = Katzenberg, Illumination = Meledandri, RFX = ????
    - Poor Management and Leadership - Slaves to the paint by numbers spreadsheets with no input on how to solve problems when they arrive other than to make artists stay late for no overtime.
    - Company leaders take a lot of credit for doing very little work
    - Project ADD aka: "Git'r done" mentality: Loves a project during bidding process and early development, but after a month or so the new toy is no longer interesting and it's onto the next big money maker!

    Seriously, don't let these people use you to get any further in the industry.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    If RFX expects to recruit top talent from real studios and relocate them to Dallas, TX, they should take a good hard look at the way they treat their artists and run their business.

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
  11. 3 people found this helpful  

    Horrible company, ver low pay, VERY long hours, no stability or chance for growth, terrible management, weak pipeline...

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Digital Artist in Dallas, TX
    Former Employee - Digital Artist in Dallas, TX

    I worked at Reel FX full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    It's air-conditioned. The parking lot is gated and fenced to help prevent your car from being broken into or stolen (bad crime in area).

    Cons

    Well, I wrote a long, detailed review and then there was an error processing it. I'm not going to take the time to type it again.

    I will say that I have worked at MPC, The Mill, Digital Domain, Industrial Light & Magic, and a myriad of commercial houses in Los Angeles on movies and national broadcast commercials.

    ReelFX was the worst experience of my professional life, mainly due to management, severely overworking conditions (compared to EVERYWHERE else I have ever worked), extremely low pay, job instability, poor pipeline/tool sets, production ignorance, and being treated VERY poorly.

    The Dallas area is dangerous due to crime, dirty, and only cheaper than L.A. If you live a good distance away from the actual studio.

    There are many, many other specific issues with all levels of the company, but I don't have the patience to type all of them again.

    If you have an opportunity ANYWHERE else, highly consider it. ReelFX is the only real CG/visual effects company in Dallas or Texas for that matter, so when you loose your job to someone cheaper or even an intern, you will need to move or change careers. Work anywhere else where there is more than one possible company to work for.

    THERE IS NO OVER TIME PAY, WORK WEEKS ARE BASED OFF OF 40 HOURS. Work weeks average 60-80 hours, six and seven days a week. There is very little time to spend with the wife and kids, let alone pursue personal interests or projects. And they will not care or show appreciation for your efforts. ReelFX is one of only a few companies in the U.S. That can underbid India, China, Dubai, or the cheapest Canadian companies. This is because the artists get paid so little for so much work they do.

    There is potential for improvement if they cleaned house of management and hired people with normal egos and actual experience, but a lump of coal can turn into a diamond, and you just don't have the time to wait for that to happen....

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Listen to your artists. Take the comments in these reviews seriously.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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