Luma Pictures Reviews | Glassdoor.ca

Luma Pictures Reviews

Updated 26 August, 2018
51 reviews

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2.8
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Payam Shohadai
36 Ratings

51 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 6 reviews)

Cons
  • "low pay and no career advancement - you might as well work in Bangalore" (in 8 reviews)

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

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (1)

    "they pretend to be a cool place to work..."

    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

    good shows, free snacks, good location.

    Cons

    Too much OT. They can't manage work properly so you end up doing a lot of unpaid overtime. They don't provide accommodation so its up to an artist to find a place to live which can be hard if you coming from another country. They constantly re-assign shots. They say they are "mates and not colleagues" but its not true - nobody wants to hang out, everyone is too exhausted or they just don't care, they never gonna be your mates.

    Luma Pictures Response

    14 Aug, 2018 – Head of Culture

    Thanks for your feedback. It's disappointing to hear that you didn't enjoy your time with us and we appreciate you taking the time to let us know. As always, we try and take this feedback on and... More


  2. "digital artist"

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

    I worked at Luma Pictures full-time

    Pros

    free trips and great culture

    Cons

    low pay and no career advancement - you might as well work in Bangalore

  3. "Good as a short term job"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Santa Monica, CA (US)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Santa Monica, CA (US)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Luma Pictures (Less than a year)

    Pros

    * Free unlimited snacks
    * Great Location
    * Many food options around

    Cons

    * Company culture is off. You're either part of the clique or you're seen as an "odd ball". Very high schoolish mentality
    * You're almost required to hang out with everyone after work. If not, you'll seem like an outsider


  4. Helpful (1)

    "Luma Pictures - Anonymous Review"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    I worked at Luma Pictures at the Melbourne studio for a short term contract. Here were my following impressions while working there:

    - Friendly staff and colleagues
    - Nice and open environment with all the desks grouped into circles so it's not rows like a factory.
    - Nice variety of culture events including regular snack bar and afternoon snack break, Friday night drinks too.
    - A great outdoor deck to view the city.

    Cons

    - Lack of documentation to help artists with their work and you do need to rely on asking for help all the time when you first start out at the studio.
    - Delayed communication between the Melbourne and LA studio which causes issues with receiving feedback and knowing if your contract is going to be extended.
    - Early morning start at 8am is not the most ideal time to start work.


  5. 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


  6. Helpful (6)

    "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


  7. Helpful (9)

    "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.

  8. Helpful (7)

    "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.


  9. 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.


  10. Helpful (10)

    "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.


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