Luma Pictures Employee Reviews about "studios"

Updated 31 Jul 2020

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3.9
72%
Recommend to a Friend
72%
Approve of CEO
Luma Pictures President / CEO Payam Shohadai (no image)
Payam Shohadai
54 Ratings
Pros
  • "The culture team comes up with some nice activities once in a while(in 13 reviews)

  • "Luma is in South Melbourne city fringe suburb with everything you need close by(in 10 reviews)

Cons
  • "I wish they knew what it is like to work in other studios because they deserve to be treated better(in 8 reviews)

  • "I do not agree with it being a "frat house", but i do feel the "friendly/approachable" culture isnt genuine amoungst higher management(in 5 reviews)

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Pros & Cons are excerpts from user reviews. They are not authored by Glassdoor.

Reviews about "studios"

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  1. Helpful (3)

    "Terrible. Stay away."

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Artist in Melbourne
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I worked at Luma Pictures full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Nice Projects to work. free snacks. free drinks.

    Cons

    I don't know where to start. - Probably one of the vfx studios where you should stay away, one of the worst in whole industry. - I worked there for several months and wanted to leave after the first week. the word WEIRD would be an understatement. - they start at 8 am with the reviews, and brief where your brain does not have time to fuel, asking you how long you will take to complete the shot, and when you can delivery a version..( you didn't start check your task yet and had breakfast.) In the studio they physically have a gong that they play at lunchtime, welcome back to preschool again. if you arrive 10 minutes late, it doesn't matter if you didn't take your lunch break to deliver shots, they threaten you not to pay yourself. practically a frat house, except someone nobody is sociable and everyone is on his own, even during the lunch break in the common areas nobody talks to anyone, especially if you are the newcomer nobody has the courtesy to come and exchange two words with you, there are bad vibes in the studio, a lot of artist look frustrated, but everyone laughs at the supervisor's jokes, probably to don't look like a looser. They pretend you to participate in ridiculous internal competitions to win stupid prizes, nobody does it willingly, people do it only to make themselves appear nice in the eyes of the studio, almost everyone hates these things. the production most of the time is incompetent, and the stress level is practically sky high, they stress you every 10, 5 , 3 minutes asking you where you are with the version and when you can deliver a new version, and they pretend that you finish everything by 5 because they don't want to pay OT . they don't let you stay in the studio even to be able to study the pipelines in the beginning as there is practically no time to do it. inside the studio you are worth less than zero, non-existent possibility of professional growth, and even if you are a senior or mid, they consider you as a junior, giving you ridiculous shots or shot of other people, paying you as a junior, but pretending that make it as a senior. Ridiculous. they make you do dozens of changes on already approved shots that magically go back. the production doesn't even consider you, a lot of time they don't answer to your questions and they can fire you without giving any explanations, Supervisor and lead doesn't help your work and most of the time they are not really happy to help you and as artists you don't have the opportunity to work in a calm way as you do in other studio, they squeeze you with unjustified psychological violence to have as many shots as possible to deliver at the end of the day, no one understand why have this pressure on the artist, the only plausible reason is that they make money with their clients in this way. almost all the people who work in there have had very little experience with other studios and are convinced that they are practically the best in the sector. many of the outsiders who worked for Luma left shortly after. unfortunately the rumors about this company are all true and sooner or later they will find themselves without artists to negotiate if they don't change their way of thinking., in my opinion if there were not some supervisors in command the company could be saved, but again that's what they deserve. I wouldn't even work there again for twice the salary.

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  2. Helpful (4)

    "Health is wealth"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
     
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Luma Pictures

    Pros

    I have to say that the artists are very friendly and welcoming. As a small studio, the quality of work being produced is amazing. The culture team comes up with some nice activities once in a while.

    Cons

    The hours are very long. Their artists health isn’t their main priority - but to have something delivered to the clients the following day. Marvel, being one of their long term clients - they really don’t care whether you had worked until 4-5 AM. Most were expected to come to work on time after 4 hours on the same day. I salute the people who are still there but at the same time, I feel really bad for them. I wish they knew what it is like to work in other studios because they deserve to be treated better.

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  3. Helpful (10)

    "Hard, but a good step for Juniors"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Artist in Melbourne
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I worked at Luma Pictures full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    -Get to work on some great movies, on some awesome shots. -Great studio space in a good location, lots of places for lunch and food/snacks are provided in the studio by the culture team. -Other employees are really lovely, met some fantastic people there. -They balance multiple projects at a time, so you'll pick up some credits in a short amount of time.

    Cons

    - Work/life balance is pretty bad, and while this is an issue throughout the whole industry it can be especially harsh at Luma. You'll be in the studio for at least 50 hours a week (with a 1 hour lunch each day) and there can be a lot of overtime near the end of a show (especially for those at the end of the production line). If you want to preserve some "you" time in the day you will probably want to live close to the studio, which unfortunately leads to the next issue: -Pay is low compared to the rest of the industry, and as other people have mentioned you only really get one opportunity to propose a salary. If you're a junior or someone early in their career you can't really complain but South Melbourne is also quite an expensive place to live. If you don't want to spend extra valuable hours in the day commuting, you'll want to live close by which can hurt the bank if you're running on a lower salary. - Supervisors/higher ups are intimidating and unapproachable. There's a definite "Boys Club" kind of attitude coming from the supervisors and the clique of longer term employees. This shouldn't be a character trait for someone you have to answer to day in and day out. This was one of the biggest issues I had and I haven't experienced it to this level in any other studios. This is probably the source of the "Frat House" attitude that many other reviews have mentioned. - Task tracking is almost non existent and poorly managed. All tasks were assigned to me via word of mouth and the task tracking system was rarely updated to reflect that. This didn't seem to be an issue for all departments though, so it might not be the case for everyone. Organization overall is an issue for Luma, a lot of the long hours and overtime feels like the result of poor organization rather than a large work load. -The "Culture" Is ok, I never had much of an issue with it but it isn't a necessary part of the studio. For the more introverted employees the pressure of having to socialize and participate in activities all the time can definitely add another layer of stress and exhaustion on top of their workload. It would be nice to see more understanding/catering to people like this, since this industry can attract some more reserved but incredibly talented people. Some of the nicest people I met at Luma were the more understated/shy ones. Luma is also one of the two major studios in Melbourne, so people living there in the VFX industry don't have many options and it's sad to see so many people ruled out. -A small one, but every day they call everyone into the kitchen at 4 to have snacks that the culture team has prepared. I appreciate them doing this but most of the time the food is sugary junk food like donuts and ice cream. Sitting down at a computer for almost 10 hours a day is already a pretty unhealthy lifestyle, It would to get more healthy alternatives with the occasional snack instead of the other way around.

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  4. Helpful (15)

    "Bizarre"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Melbourne
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Luma Pictures full-time

    Pros

    For people new to the VFX industry, it's a cool feeling to be working on big super hero movies The studio space is very modern and the interior design is fun Great selection of free food and snacks Melbourne is a nice city If you don't have much experience, you have more chance getting a job here than the other Australian VFX studios

    Cons

    It's been a few years since I worked at Luma, but I've been keeping an eye on the reviews and it doesn't sound like that much has changed, so i thought i'd add my two cents. At the time, I didn't have many other studios to compare it to, but now that I have I can say with certainly that Luma was...unique?! The culture was bizarre....imagine.. ...mandatory shots (i.e. tequila/vodka) at 9am on Mondays, mandatory 12.30-1.30 lunch break (a gong is rung to signal this and you must leave your desk), enforced 'team bonding' activities on weekends (not mandatory but frowned upon to miss), 'school register' taken at 8.05am (i.e. 5 minutes after you're meant to be there) and a record kept of whoever's more than 5 minutes late. There was some kind of penalty for being 5-minutes late more than 3 times, can't remember what it was. Weekly staff meetings where someone might get 'made staff' and get a prize, and the boss gives a speech about how great they are. Everyone claps and wonders 'when will it be me..?' 'How do i get this honour?' Then Employee of the Week will be announced and another person has to play a weird game in front of the whole crew (like throw a bowling ball) to win another prize . You get the idea.... Most companies have a little staffpolitics going on, some favouritism..but i've never seen it more flagrant than at Luma. Super high staff turnover as a consequence, and even the favourites leave after a few years. Nearly everyone who I saw get 'made staff' has left by now. The staff was mainly made up of people they'd brought over from the US (most of whom had been promoted in the process so didn't have a very good grasp of their roles), and local graduates who were clearly being paid the minimum. The favourites of these were hastily groomed to fill senior roles. Overtime was bad, as many other reviews have mentioned, and they're not honest about how much will be expected. Pay wasn't terrible, but again there's this weird element to it - they tell you after interview 'make us an offer and we'll either accept it or not. We don't do negotiations'. So obviously most people go in a bit low. Ironically I then got haggled down, and later heard quite a few other people did too. So basically they only negotiate one way?! Having said alllll this....Luma has, over the years, given a lot of inexperienced artists their 'foot in the door' of an otherwise very competitive industry. This is perhaps their saving grace. So you're new to VFX and fancy a few crazy months in return for a feature film credit, I'd say go for it!

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  5. Helpful (6)

    "Awesome work, amazing culture team, poor/ inconsiderate higher management."

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Melbourne
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at Luma Pictures full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    A great opportunity to work on big titles. An amazing number of talented and social co workers. Compared to other studios ive worked at, a great amount of space is given to each individual artist in regards to workspace. A very dedicated culture team, who really put in the elbow grease to ensure the artists are comfortable, excluding higher culture management who come accross as intimidating and un-approachable. A great location with a wide range of options for eating out.

    Cons

    Higher management very intimidating. There is a facade of a very open channel of communication and interaction. However their is clear favouritism in the way 'higher' management deal and interact with specific employees. The grindy culture is very prominent, there are inconsistencies within lumas core culture. I do not agree with it being a "frat house", but i do feel the "friendly/approachable" culture isnt genuine amoungst higher management. Over my time at luma so far, i feel uncomfrotable around the VP. As someone who has worked at more than a handful of vfx studios, i have never felt belittled as i have felt here at my time with luma.

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  6. Helpful (2)

    "Fantastic place to start a career"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - VFX Artist in Melbourne
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Luma Pictures full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    This was my first job and my first studio, so naturally i can't compare it to other studios, but my experience at Luma has been incredibly positive. Melbourne is a beautiful city and a great place to live, and luma is located in a really nice area. The studio itself is really nice, it has a friendly atmosphere and feels pretty relaxed (aside from obviously crunch times). We work on some awesome projects, some of them are quite short and sweet, which means in just over a year i've worked on i think 7 big movies. The people are great. I haven't had a negative experience with a single person since starting here. The culture team is great. They spend a lot of time organising events for us, cooking us food, and at times they really go out of their way to make us feel appreciated. As a Roto Paint artist i couldn't recommend it enough for the one reason that we outsource a lot of our roto. My workload since i started has probably been 95% paint which i really, really appreciate. The work is fun and varied. I have to say some of the 1 star reviews i've read on here from recent employees are quite bemusing and while i respect their right to have their opinions heard, to me seem indicative of personality problems. Luma is apparently not for everyone, and obviously it's not perfect, but to me a lot of what i read in those reviews do not provide an accurate or fair view of the studio.

    Cons

    Over time does happen during crunch times and some departments get it worse than others. My personal experience in 1 year of working there is 4-5 weeks of heavy overtime (70+ hours), including about 5 saturdays. To my knowledge no one at the studio has worked a Sunday in the last few years. Sometimes u can be ambushed at the end of the day with OT when you thought you were going home on time, but it's normally a polite request so personally i don't mind.. could be a problem for some people tho. Contracts for junior artists can be quite short, which is understandable, but quite scary when you don't know if you're going to have a job in a months time etc. Again i can't compare this to other studios.

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  7. Helpful (1)

    "Where Hard Work Pays Off"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Contractor - Anonymous Contractor in Santa Monica, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Luma Pictures for more than a year

    Pros

    If you want a place to work hard but get rewarded the same, if not more, then Luma is the place for you. Each day goes by feeling like you ran a marathon or maybe 2. But it is the best feeling when each day pays off. Luma really takes care of their employees and makes sure that everyone is treated with respect and is included in all activities that they provide. Luma also does a really good job of making a family vibe in the studio. The atmosphere is fun and inviting. Unlike other studios, we have a very close relationship between both Melbourne and Los Angeles. There are many people who relocate from all over the world to these two studios. I've said time and time before that I would have never liked the LA if I did not work at Luma. They are very good at making you feel welcome and included from the get go. Overall, Luma is a place for people who thrive in a fun, fast paced work environment.

    Cons

    The cohesiveness and communication throughout both studios can tighten up a bit. As much as we try to make everything one big studio, it does get lost in translation with the 17 hour time difference at times. It is also very hard to understand expectations of each other when they are not communicated properly.

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  8. Helpful (26)

    "One of the worst companies I've ever worked for!"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Artist in Melbourne
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Luma Pictures full-time

    Pros

    The only pros I can see are the big name projects but even that doesn't do anything for you if the majority of all the shots stay in LA and Melbourne only gets the leftovers. Of what's left the hero shots will go to the people that have their head stuck as far possible up the supervisors behind.

    Cons

    Like others have said the company culture is the worst part of the whole experience. Loud and obnoxious behaviour is encouraged and it's looked down upon if you don't partake in the ridiculous "fun" activities. There is constantly loud music playing in the entire office and people yelling over it without any kind of awareness for the rest of the artists trying to work. On top of that all the supervisors have not a lot of experience and most of them never worked for any other big studios and lack the relevant social skills to actually deal with artists and motivate them to do great work. Artists are encouraged to work against each other and be competetive by giving individual people a shout out in front of everybody and not putting a focus on actual team work. Communication between artists is almost non existent. The pipeline is almost non existent and a lot of stuff is just being done on the fly. So a lot of days you spend more time trying to fix stuff than actually working on your shots.

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