Fortune's Best Companies #6: DreamWorks
Apparently, at DreamWorks, one of the best companies to work for, there is such a thing as free lunch – and breakfast too. Employees describe the DreamWorks SKG Animation Studio campus atmosphere as fast paced and fun, with good people and great benefits.
It takes lots of energy to draw "Shrek" all day, and DreamWorks makes sure their people don't go hungry. Benefits like company-paid breakfast and lunch were both big hits with employees, many of whom mention that free food was one of the reasons they liked working at DreamWorks. Who wouldn't like eating with Steven Spielberg?
Working at DreamWorks sounds like a dream, according to Diana De Rosa, who wrangled horses on two DreamWorks releases. Diana liked DreamWorks' exciting atmosphere, but admitted that "the office atmosphere was a bit insane like it is with all of us. Everyone having 100 things to do all at once."
Only one of the movies that Diana worked on was animated, and she enjoyed watching the animation process. "We had a chance to see them at work. It was fascinating."
Diana explained that she liked the people that she worked with, and enjoyed some of the extra benefits that come with working for a major studio. DreamWorks offered her incentives to get media coverage of the actors and actresses, and allowed her to write background stories about the filming. Getting stories about the filming published, also "gave me a better chance of getting published by my equine media contacts."
Other DreamWorks employees from different areas of the company offered mostly positive thoughts, but from varied viewpoints.
A DreamWorks animation intern (name not disclosed) shared that his experience was generally positive at DreamWorks and that was a great place to start his career. "Free lunches, easygoing environment and atmosphere. Everyone is laid back and easy to approach, so it was a great culture. Overall a great place to get hands-on experience."
Another DreamWorks animator (name not disclosed) added: "It's a great place to work in general. The management and company do seem to have a genuine desire to create a great place to work. Nice campus, free food, activities, perks. Union provides all benefits including health, which are generally regarded as being very good."
Not even the best job on the planet is all positive, and she also shared some less-desirable aspects to balance her comments. "The grass is always greener. Every company has its issues and DreamWorks has its fair share of politics, favoritism, short sightedness, etc. I wouldn't say it's any worse than anywhere else. Generally, it feels a bit like a retirement home, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Things change very slowly, life moves quite slowly, but mostly that is part of the feature-animation world."
A software engineer (name not disclosed) revealed his thoughts about working at DreamWorks. "I have been working here for the last three years and it is a nice place to work. You are surrounded by creative minds and the work environment is very nice. They have very good perks like free breakfast/lunch, and free Caltran pass." But he also exposed that "it is very much a production-driven environment. Most of the developer time is spent on maintaining the existing code rather than developing new software."
Finally, Diana DeRosa mentioned her favorite thing about working at DreamWorks. "I also liked that they gave out souvenirs for me to distribute. That was a big hit with the 4-H groups and younger audience."
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