Vancouver Film School

www.vfs.ca
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Vancouver Film School Reviews

Updated February 26, 2015
Updated February 26, 2015
12 Reviews
3.3
12 Reviews
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  1.  

    Student (game design): Great program for some people

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

    I worked at Vancouver Film School

    Pros

    Great teachers, awesome peers, nice facilities, and tons of hands on learning. You really do get out of it whatever you put in, and you will be surrounded by people who are putting in a lot.

    Cons

    It's pretty openly competitive, and the structure of the curriculum/final projects/industry night ensures that everyone is constantly under pressure to perform. If you aren't putting in late hours on classwork, you will fall behind. If you aren't actively networking and making connections with peers, faculty, and the local game scene, you won't get your money's worth. If that doesn't sound like your cup of tea, it probably isn't.

  2.  

    Mixed for others, great for me

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

    I worked at Vancouver Film School full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Students are amazing and the staff are the lifeline of the School. A plethora of personalities, backgrounds, experiences, and overall demographic contribute to Vancouver Film School's unique culture!
    Tons of opportunities to learn, develop and grow!
    Flexibility is next to none

    Cons

    If management likes you, you will be taken care of. If not, GOOD LUCK!
    Pay is not the greatest either....

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  3.  

    Terrible Company and Awful Place to Work

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

    I worked at Vancouver Film School full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Some talented and friendly co-workers

    Cons

    Revolving door of employees, managers, directors - everyone gets fired or quits.
    Management is unprofessional and poorly trained - not one is capable of doing their own job. Managers don't communicate effectively to staff nor define their expectations.
    Lots of micro-managing and multiple managers/directors to report to on any given project. None of these managers communicate with each other and all give different direction which means the same project is done numerous times due to lack of foresight and communication.
    There is a undercurrent of fear amongst staff - everyone is terrified of making a mistake so no one is willing to try anything new or be creative. The office culture breeds bullying, back-stabbing and general unhappiness and frustration.
    Anyone can be let go at anytime and always without valid reasons.
    The pay is extremely low and there are no raises or cost of living increases.
    HR is NOT private and confidential. Expect anything you say to someone in human resources to be shared with whoever. Same goes for your management team.
    Tuition is negotiable and EVERYONE is accepted. They just want the cash - if you are 17 and can pay, you will be accepted. This is not a secret. Students usually discover during the first week of classes that everyone has paid a different amount to come to the same program - it's basically like an airline.
    Employees are treated very badly - there is clear and obvious bullying that comes from management towards staff. No one is accountable for their own behaviour and there is no one to talk to confidentially about your concerns.
    Management is not interested in growth and development of staff, most people don't last more then a couple years.
    Management is aware of many of these problems yet is not interested in finding long-term or reasonable solutions. It's all about the bottom line.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Employee retention is important and will save you money in the long run. That means treating your employees fairly and having effective and properly trained managers.
    No one is happy or productive because of the office culture - the lack of real leadership and proper communication as well as the terrible treatment of staff is hurting the school and your business. Stop with the short term "solutions" and consider implementing real change that could actually turn the school around and make it a place people want to work and students want to study.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    A toxic, unorganized environment that lacks leadership and treats its employees poorly

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

    I worked at Vancouver Film School full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    - The (non-management) staff are friendly, talented, hard-working people.

    Cons

    - The "Executive Team": Tasked with running the school, they spend more time arguing with one another and making knee-jerk decisions than they do creating any positive change. I don't know if they're losing money, but there is a desperation that drives daily operations there and leads to...

    - Micromanaging: It's so deeply ingrained in the culture that its become the norm. Simple, everyday decisions are delayed because they have to be approved by everyone in a position of authority. Even after a decision has been made, it ends up being overturned because someone else in charge decided against it. This happens so often, that months go by without any real progress. Despite that, there is a dysfunctional sense of...

    - Panic: Months go by with projects being delayed, deadlines dropped, and eventually priorities shift, only to have a manager/director come in at the last minute and create an unrealistic deadline for a long-forgotten project. Nothing is ever done properly, even if there is a plan, because management has their team chasing moving targets constantly. There is zero push-back or questioning decisions. This is a reflection of the...

    - Lack of leadership: There are too many people concerned only with protecting their own job. As long as they keep their immediate bosses happy, they ignore the problems that they themselves complain about. This is understandable from the lower level staff, but when a manager is pointing out major organizational issues to his/her staff, then does absolutely nothing to rectify those issues, it demoralizes everyone. This is why there's so much...

    - Instability: In three years, the VFS marketing department has seen three different marketing directors. In that time, dozens of people have also been "laid off" (only to be replaced a few weeks later by someone who is eventually "laid off", also). Yeah, the constant job ads you see for VFS are not a sign of growth. It's the sign of a toxic work environment and incompetent management team that demonstrates zero accountability.

    - Low pay: Sure, there are plenty of companies out there who pay their staff poorly. Yet, VFS is the only one I've ever heard of that makes it part of its corporate policy, and has this reinforced by HR. It is common knowledge that HR doesn't have a formal review system for its employees. Years can go by and, unless you ask for it, nobody will approach you about a review. There is also an HR policy that asks managers to place a limit on how positive their review can be. This is a way of keeping staff from asking for a raise. This is obviously not the case for higher-level staff.

    tl;dr Don't expect to accomplish anything positive while working at VFS. If you want a temporary paycheck, then it might be worth the risk. If you're looking for meaningful work and a chance to grow your career, keep looking.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You've spent way too much time using temporary, band-aid solutions to fix long-standing, systemic issues. The problem isn't your website, that ad campaign that failed or some low-level employee who you think should be doing his/her job differently.

    The problem is VFS has no clear sense of direction, an unprofessional management team, and terrible communication across the school as a whole.

    Hire qualified, talented managers who have proven success managing people, as well as success managing campaigns. Give your managers goals and make them accountable. Check in with their staff. Ask about how they feel regarding their manager's efforts. There are so many staff members who don't respect their manager. This isn't even personal. It's the result of having a manager who manipulates and bullies her staff, while also trash-talking her own bosses - always laying blame, but never responsible for anything. Everyone knows this happens, yet everyone ignores it.

    You guys keep talking about more transparency, but you insist on operating in secrecy.

    Oh, and stop trying to act like creative directors. Have some humility and understand that just because you think you're creative, doesn't mean you should be making creative decisions. What's the point of having a marketing team if you're going to do their job for them?

    Hire qualified people then trust them do their job properly. If you can't do that, you shouldn't be running a business.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    Not the greatest place to work.

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

    I worked at Vancouver Film School full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    The coworkers are great
    Good flexibility when it comes to working hours
    You get to wear casual clothes everyday :)
    Good place to be if you want to gain some work experience.

    Cons

    Lots of micro management from executives
    Next to no communication from executives
    Very reactive environment because of the lack of communication
    Company thinks everyone is expendable since they laid-off at least 40+ staff in the last year

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Management needs to care about employees more. Work on communication and less micro management. It shouldn't take months or years to have something approved.

  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great Place

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

    I have been working at Vancouver Film School full-time

    Pros

    Great environment with lots of friendly staff. Such a strong environment seeking to always do the best for the students, and always updating the curriculum to adapt to changes in the industry. If you push to do more, you are always rewarded to do so.

    Cons

    The neighbourhood around the company is less than desirable. The interior is great but the location is not. Can be quite the negative aspect for international students.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I'd be cautious with some staff being complacent with their work and their teaching material.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    Fantastic School

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Contractor - Student in Vancouver, BC (Canada)
    Former Contractor - Student in Vancouver, BC (Canada)

    I worked at Vancouver Film School as a contractor (more than a year)

    Pros

    Great Culture, regular events and extremely passionate students and instructors.

    Cons

    It was an absolute treat. No Cons whatsoever.

    Recommends
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    I worked at VFS.

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

    I worked at Vancouver Film School

    Pros

    The location was nice and central, and the compensation packages had benefits included.

    Cons

    Supervisors were not patient enough to train staff, some were rude and borderline abusive, you could feel the low morale of the staff

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    listen to the feedback of your employees

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  10.  

    very dynamic environment, Medium size company ran like a small business

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Desktop Support in Vancouver, BC (Canada)
    Former Employee - Desktop Support in Vancouver, BC (Canada)

    I worked at Vancouver Film School full-time

    Pros

    Great work life balance, Central Downtown location, Very Dynamic staff and students

    Cons

    Salary is average, not much opportunity to advance

    Recommends
  11.  

    An amazing place to develop and learn

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

    I have been working at Vancouver Film School full-time

    Pros

    Great people and an ever changing challenge.

    Cons

    Hard to strike a healthy balance with students and development.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    More staff benefits everyone!

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

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