What is the Standard Studio Environment?

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  01 January 2018
What is the Standard Studio Environment?

I know every studio is different but what types of work environments have you experienced at animation/vfx studios?

I was working for an Australian vfx studio for over a year and it was my first job. The culture was rowdy. People yell. Meetings weren't scheduled, they yell for everyone to get into meetings. Loud music plays throughout. There are speakers installed in every room. The type of music was awful for a workplace. Heavy metal with lots of screaming, dance music, very upbeat and usually in fast tempos.

Needless to say I found the culture very distracting. It seems animators, riggers and TDs had the most issues because those jobs requires timing, performance, coding etc.

Lots of people wore headphones anyways and didn't want the distractions but it was a very strict culture and anyone who spoke against suffered for it.

In general what's it like working in other studios?
  01 January 2018
In La if it is a newly built studio you can put your money on mass open seating. Count on headphones being your invisibility cloak and work in a 300 spiff when you sign that contract if they make you sit at lunch tables while you work. I personally have a lot of trouble working this way as I can easily get ocd from peoples keyboard typing. It will be far more rare in large studio environments to have music playing on speakers but what you are describing would be a utopia for some so keep that in mind.

When studios talk about culture from the point of view of what they try to do for the artist eg education, bbq, events, social outings etc it tends to be a good thing. When culture comes from a place that feels like religion or everyone must submit to one personality you might want to run away from it. it's all perspective. I can love a game as much as the next guy for example but you shouldn't let them judge you on how many hours a week you play or how addicted you are, over how invested in the art you are, and the fact that you would rather work on the design of an environment rather than ranking an extra 10 hours this week in it
  02 February 2018
It varies. Each studio will have their own culture but all in my experience were easy going.

Majority of the studios I have worked for have been set in open plan offices. There will be background chatter but usually no music.

One TV animation played music in it's main artist area. The music would not have lyrics, it was mostly film scores. The volume were lower or off entirely for animators, editors or anyone who had to work with sound.

At one animation studio the owners wanted to appeal to the younger demographic. They hired an assistant to make the workplace more enjoyable. As soon as the assistant started she implemented the club rule. Which meant she wanted the employees to feel like they were partying in a club rather than working at their desks. Flashing lights and a studio wide sound system were installed. The flashing lights caused glaring and reflections off of monitors. Management received multiple complaints over the music from animators because they had difficulty hearing audio for lip sync. The lights were permanently turned off but management were adamant for the music to remain until supervisors noticed a decline in lip sync quality and producers noticed the deadlines were not being met.

Most studios I have worked provided activities. BBQs, meals, games, movie screenings, bowling etc. In my opinion these are positives but can easily be negatives if the company makes these mandatory or they happen during crunch time and it's disruptive to your work.

If you find yourself at a studio where you cannot work to your potential due to company environmental distractions you are better off finding work elsewhere.At the end of the day your growth and salary are based on your performance.
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