Luma Pictures Reviews | Glassdoor.ca

Luma Pictures Reviews

Updated 4 June, 2018
48 reviews

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2.8
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Payam Shohadai
35 Ratings

48 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • "they have a dedicated culture team that takes good care of the artists" (in 11 reviews)

  • "Great culture team that looks after you" (in 5 reviews)

Cons
  • "The pay is low for a VFX company" (in 6 reviews)

  • "Some paid double after 50 hours and on weekends" (in 5 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (1)

    "compositor"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Luma Pictures part-time

    Pros

    great place to learn and grow.

    Cons

    long hours as most VFX places


  2. Helpful (2)

    "All work and no time off to be seen"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Luma Pictures full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    The only pro is that the company does work on some exciting projects.

    Cons

    Expected to work all the time (over 60 hours a week) for very little pay.
    Management is very unprofessional and workers are treated very poorly. There is no job stability. A blind eye is given to bullying and harassment.

    Advice to Management

    Grow up

  3. Helpful (7)

    "Stay Away"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Santa Monica, CA (US)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Santa Monica, CA (US)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Luma Pictures full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    The location is a 10-15 minute walk to the beach, readily available snacks, good place to get your foot in the door if you are a young artist fresh out of college, free screenings of the films we work on, OT meals if they ask you to work through lunch or stay late, there are some good people with kind hearts that you can find if you look hard enough.

    Cons

    Certain people have created an environment that can be compared to high school. They take roll at 9am every day (lunch is dedicated to 1-2 pm), incredibly fake human beings, will talk behind everyone and anyones back, and try to enforce policies that are illegal. Not to mention that for Halloween last year they threw a Fetish themed party at the office where they decorated the office (during work hours) with porn and mannequins in lewd positions (one member of the team also told me they were doing coke here which is why they were able to stay up until 4am). It is shocking that they don't get sued for sexual harassment.

    Beyond the poison that stems from the environment created by the culture, the pay is terrible, IF you get PTO it is only two weeks (most people are on contracts and not eligible for PTO or holiday pay), if you aren't a "cool" kid, you probably won't last very long, communication from management is lacking, respect is lacking, late nights, the list goes on and on.

    Advice to Management

    Find someone that can reign in and manage the culture. You've lost a lot of valuable employees in the last 6-12 months due to petty issues. There is a common trend to the reviews people leave on here, it might be time to actually listen to them.


  4. Helpful (6)

    "Hard, but a good step for Juniors"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Artist in Melbourne (Australia)
    Former Employee - Artist in Melbourne (Australia)
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Luma Pictures full-time (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.

    Advice to Management

    I overall had an ok time at Luma I would still recommend it to VFX artists in Melbourne if they're looking to grow, and the negatives are there to hopefully make it a better place.

    They should pay artists proper overtime directly instead of through the TOIL system they have set up, OT is fine as long as you're getting properly rewarded for it. The higher ups really need to change their attitudes and build a more comfortable environment for their employees to operate in, otherwise more and more people will come and go.


  5. Helpful (3)

    "At Least They're Trying"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Melbourne (Australia)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Melbourne (Australia)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Luma Pictures full-time

    Pros

    Luma is in South Melbourne city fringe suburb with everything you need close by. Supermarket, chemists, postshops, banks and endless eateries.

    Big tent pole hollywood films.

    In-house cleaner employed during work hours. This doesn't sound much but other VFX houses I have worked for contract a cleaning company for after hours. Dishes would pile up to the point no one can use the kitchen. Luma having a cleaner on site is a huge pro.

    Free breakfasts and snacks. Sometimes homemade.

    Usually VFX houses would give out crew shirts. Luma goes beyond that and gives out more freebies than most studios. Bag, drink bottle and looks like many more to come.

    Cons

    It seems after difficult shows and/or mass staff departures there's increase in negative reviews. I was asked (by a non-artist staff member) to write a 5 star review spinning the cons as pros. It was not an official meeting but it was within the studio walls during work hours. It's unclear if this was said in the moment or was part of a plan to increase ratings.

    Understaffed. Luma has difficulty attracting artists. Luma is super picky, pays low and has a bad reputation in the industry.

    Minimal overtime, a chance for growth, we work hard and party hard were the few things I was told during my interview.

    There is too much overtime. It's not more than other VFX houses I have worked for but I was paid time and a half after 40 hours in previous VFX houses. Some paid double after 50 hours and on weekends. Luma gives you an hour of TOIL for each hour you work. 1:1. You have the option of getting paid the TOIL every 3 months if you don't use it.

    Luma will not give me a performance review. I can't work on my faults if I don't know what they are. I would love to get my supervisor's opinion on my strengths and weaknesses. Artists want to grow within Luma but Luma needs to meet halfway.

    Now for the culture. "We work hard and party hard". In reality it can be too distracting during work hours.

    Advice to Management

    Luma is over sensitive to criticism over culture. At the core, people who don't fit into the culture are treated differently.

    You are doing better. There are no longer mandatory activities throughout the day. I wouldn't have lasted a day if I was forced to do something I was not comfortable with in front of my peers. I am glad that was done and dusted before I came on board. If it weren't for the negative reviews, Luma would still be what it was and I along with many others would not be at Luma. Listening to your staff is a good thing.

    Luma can choose to be what it wants to be. Hope you choose to be inclusive and mainstream to attract experienced talent. But if Luma clings onto the party culture you need to make it clear to applicants what they're getting into. It needs to be on employment ads and stated in interviews.


  6. Helpful (9)

    "Bizarre"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Melbourne (Australia)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Melbourne (Australia)
    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!

    Advice to Management

    I think it's all been said in previous reviews. But having spoken to people over the years, it's certainly true Luma's reputation proceeds itself in several countries now, so unless something changes they'll keep struggling to employ anyone other than recent graduates.


  7. Helpful (2)

    "Great little company doing big work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Digital Artist in Melbourne (Australia)
    Former Employee - Digital Artist in Melbourne (Australia)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Luma Pictures full-time

    Pros

    Luma is a fantastic little company doing a lot of things right.
    Their culture team is second to none, always making sure people feel comfortable, looked after and they're always (literally every day) planning something for the staff to get them away from their desks and to relax.
    Project wise Luma works on some of the biggest films out there and has recently starting doing some stellar photorealistic shots. They're extremely nurturing of talent, taking the time and having faith in their junior artists to do big, challenging shots.
    The biggest pro to working at Luma is the people. They have a team of extremely dedicated and talented artists who get together and socialize, which I think is a main reason their work has taken a leap forward over the last few years. Interdepartmental conversation is strongly encourage also, which is a breath of fresh air compared to some studios.

    Cons

    High intensity and high turnover (of shows and shots), and that comes with some OT, especially at crunch time.

    8am start makes an already demanding job which often entails long hours anyway even more tiring, you feel that extra hour a day add up and take it's toll.

    Advice to Management

    Reduce the working day to the industry standard 9am-6pm, it keeps a lot of experienced artists away and it often leaves a bad first impression.

    Artists should be reviewed after every show. Tell them what they did right, where they could improve and where they would like to take their career and how you can help them achieve those goals.

  8. Helpful (4)

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

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Melbourne (Australia)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Melbourne (Australia)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at Luma Pictures full-time (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.

    Advice to Management

    You have an amazing team of talented and dedicated artists. Your culture team members (excluding higher management) are the saving grace and have made my time here at luma thus far bearable. So i hope these people are being appreciated unlike some artists, including myself, i know are not.

    I would suggest taking a look at the core of what luma represents, the people at the top have to look at how they approach and deal with the artists. Get rid of your biases towards how you deal with people or atleast dont be so obvious about them. Your higher management really should look into how they handle interactions with others around them. This isnt highschool, but it very much feels like high school politics and luma politics are synonymous.


  9. Helpful (6)

    "Cool For Short Stints - Do Not Recommend For All"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Melbourne (Australia)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Melbourne (Australia)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Luma Pictures full-time

    Pros

    Big comfortable desks. I have worked at studios with only 2 feet of space between artists. Luma gives you a big workspace with elbow room.

    Interior is nice. There's designer furniture some are one offs that were designed and made for Luma.

    Free snacks and breakfasts. At times Luma will offer activities like BBQs, movie screenings.

    Free teas and coffees. Decent kitchen. You can even cook your lunches.

    You get to work on hollywood movies. Specifically Marvel films.

    Cons

    Low pay and short contracts. Pay is one of the lowest in the industry. Luma renews contracts or not inappropriately late. One week before end of contract you will be notified if your lucky. This is inconsiderate.

    The culture is very childish. Loud music played all the time. The music turns ON at 8am to signal you should be at your desk working. It's opposite of what it should be. It's like the frat houses you see in American movies.

    Hours are 8am-6pm with 1 hour unpaid lunch and 2 x 15 unpaid minute breaks. You work 50 hours per week but only paid for 42.5 hours but Luma claims 45 hours for film incentives offered by Australian government.

    There's blatant favouritism from culture. It's clear as day. If you don't fit into Luma's fun cool mould you will be an outsider. Favouritism in production is less conspicuous but it exists.

    Advice to Management

    I will never go back nor will I recommend Luma to anyone but graduates. There is no incentive for artists to stay. Low pay, no loyalty towards staff (Luma expects full loyalty from staff. Go figure).

    Welcome all personality types, ages and respect everyones working preferences. You will never please everyone all the time but make an effort.

    Mute the speakers or set specific music hours that plays non-disruptive music. Leave 8am-11am quiet for meetings, briefings etc. An hour of music before lunch. An hour of music 3.30-4.30pm with fika. An hour or two in the afternoons on Mondays when there are no deliveries. Why not keep the speakers off entirely, create a Luma radio where staff can access from their computers and listen to via headphones. It is much easier to listen to music via headphones that it is for someone to block out music from the speakers. There are options around this. Show that you are making an effort instead of kicking non conforming artists out the door.

    All artists should be reviewed at the end of each show. This will help staff grow. I have never had a performance or pay review at Luma despite requests.

    Offer higher salaries. Luma isn't alluring to experienced artists. Luma has a very bad reputation for artists in the industry. Your only attracting graduates because of the foot in the door.


  10. Helpful (7)

    "For Ages 21 and Under"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - VFX Artist in Melbourne (Australia)
    Former Employee - VFX Artist in Melbourne (Australia)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Luma Pictures full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Studio is in great location. Cooked breakfast on Mondays. Other days help yourself to cereals and toast. Free snack table has junk food and fruits.

    Really good for getting your foot in the door. Luma is one of the few VFX houses that will hire graduates and juniors.

    You get to work on super hero films.

    Luma offers to give you copies of your shots. Uncut and with handles. Other studios won't do this and you will have to get a copy of the film. Plus side you will get copies of your shots in it's entirety. Down side is it can take months to years for someone to transfer shots from archive. But the service is offered.

    Cons

    Reviews are split because in layman's terms there is favouritism. If you are favoured by culture, management and supervisors you will be treated well. You will get good shots, more time to complete your shots, spoken to respectfully, birthday gifts, anniversary gifts, gifts for your partner/children/pets, leniency and entitlements that don't apply to normal folk.

    You cannot give feedback on culture. Hence why so many are afraid to voice their objections. Culture is very disruptive. Loud music. Shouting all the time.

    To top it off, you're not even paid well. I was at a rival studio for 40k more working 5 hours less per week.

    So much overtime. Work starts at 8am, overtime often goes past the early mornings.

    Luma refuses to fix heating cooling. You freeze in winter. In summer you work in 32 - 40+ ºC (90 - 104+ ºF) heat. For context this has been the case since Luma opened. Nothing has been done about it in years. Culture will yell at you if you complain.

    Advice to Management

    Many of your staff lies to you and tell you they love culture. You are going about it wrong. Having parties, forcing breaks or a paid long weekend holiday are good perks but don't fix the production issues. A free lunch doesn't compensate for overtime months on end caused by lack of management.

    If you want to favour inner circle staff then hide it. Don't parade their anniversary, birthday, no reason gifts and perks for all to see.

    Keep the work floor noise to a minimum. Allow staff to actually work. Instead of spending 5k each on custom made custom designed furniture, spend it on daily comfort (air con/heating), computers, peripherals, salaries etc.

    Be honest with applicants. I was told during my application Luma does limited ot because Luma cares about staff. In reality I did more ot at Luma than anywhere else.

    Hire culture staff who doesn't yell or swear at staff. All your artists deserve respect.


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