DreamWorks

So today I had the unique and exclusive chance of getting an insight in the world’s leading digital animation company, namely Dreamworks SKG (whereas SKG stands for Spielberg, Katzenberg and Geffen) through my friend Ryan, who works there as a storyboard artist. I met up with him directly at the studios right after school. since the entire food and beverages are free for DreamWorks employees we decided to have lunch there. right when i entered with my visitors tag i noticed that i am in a truly creative environment here. the studio is set in a more or less dead area named glendale, but when you enter the gates you physically step into a different world. i remember mentioning the word “oasis” more than once to ryan, because the whole studio buildings are connected through japanese-garden-like walks with koi ponds and springs in every corner. it was quiet, calm, yet refreshing and inspiring at the same time.

the probably most pragmatic way of describing this rich environment is the following:

The gates to our studio in Glendale, Calif., welcome nearly 1,000 employees and guests daily. Beyond lie six acres of landscaped grounds with fountains, a river, a lagoon, walking paths and courtyards, along with 325,000 square feet (30,192 m2) of office space.

The architecture and style of the studio take their inspiration from the Mediterranean — arches and towers finished in warm shades of ochre, russet and stone, silvery olive trees, lush bougainvillea and flowing water.

after having a great lunch with some other artists ryan showed me around the various sites within the campus. each branch in the process of movie making has its own building. since he is working in the visual production department i mainly got to see thousands of sketches, storyboards and artists currently working on upcoming dreamworks projects. one highlight was definitely seeing the original oscars they received for the production of “wallace & gromit” and obviously shrek.
ryan himself is working on shrek 3 now and although he wanted me not to mention too many things i saw some amazing future production ideas on the walls inside this building.

imagine slendering through a wide hallway. you look to the right and you see offices. stuffed with lamps, posters, wooden made puppets, tabloid pcs. you head on and look to the right: “oh lukas, see – that’s the office of the director of “the beauty and the beast”. fascinated by the things that surrounded me It was hard to “inhale” all the information, fun and joy i experienced and which was apparently carried out by ambitious people working there. you see people in their rooms drawing and trying out new figures and animation characters. there were numerous both recent and upcoming projects they were working on and the whole scenery was just impressive. i constantly thought of my rather depressive job venuee, a hospital.

to give you a short background information, there are currently around 800 people employed at DreamWorks, ranging from the CEO jeffrey katzenberg (who has just recently been in vienna promoting their now movie “over the hedge”) to adiministrative staff, progammers and visual animation researchers. DreamWorks was founded 11 years ago by the 3 people still having their regalia implementaed in the logo. acclaimed director steven spielberg, music mogul david geffen (who btw donated 200 mio dollars to the ucla medical school, why it is now called “the david geffen school of medicine” and working is way up starting with his own company “geffen records”, which e.g. published john lennon’s last album) and nowadays CEO and head of production jeffrey katzenberg. DreamWorks also produced a bunch of other non-animation films, however recently they sold they sold the live action department to another studio in order to emphasize on animations.

unfortunately there was absolutely no chance of taking pictures because they had reasonably high security standards there. however i managed to get a shot from the inside yard and the main entrance. there are also some high resolution pictures from the inside available directly at the DreamWorks website HERE

lastly a rather cool coincidence: some days ago we got another roommate, helen, from london who just moved to LA for a year to work for DreamWorks. she is an extremly talented person and is also in the creative department at DreamWorks. “fun” part of the story is that her dad owns “nick park filmstudios” which is, as some of you might know, the filmstudio which produced wallace & gromit and chicken run.