Dreamworks Dreamworks

Glendale-based Dreamworks Animation is laying off around 70 workers, per a story filed by Deadline. The laid off employees represent around four per cent of the company’s 1,700-plus-person workforce.

Dreamworks confirmed the news in a statement:

Roles affected were across corporate functions, feature, television and technology departments as part of an overall cost-reduction.

Cartoon Brew understands that one of the hardest-hit departments at the studio was the tv department unit called the “HUB,” a group of utility artists who weren’t attached to specific shows and provided support and production services across multiple series. At least two dozen people were let go from that division.

Other units that suffered multiple layoffs were tv post production and dubbing. These layoffs mark the second announced reduction in workforce at Dreamworks this year, following 33 eliminated roles last May.

An important point to make: these layoffs are not directly related to our report last Friday about the company’s shift to a mixed-production model. Deadline’s reporters attributed the current round of layoffs to “the downward cyclical turn in the business, rising production costs and the strikes.”

Multiple workers at Dreamworks tell us that there is a feeling of tension and uncertainty at the studio and that they are bracing for additional staff reductions in the months ahead.

Another key point to consider: The studio is also reducing headcount by not renewing agreements for contract workers. These reductions are not technically layoffs – Dreamworks COO Randy Lake calls it “natural attrition” – though they ultimately have the same effect on the company, which is a reduced workforce.

Staff reductions through “natural attrition” are becoming commonplace throughout the L.A. animation industry as feature studios switch from permanent staff to short-term contract models. Walt Disney Animation Studios has similarly downsized its workforce in recent months by not renewing contracts. Headcount at Disney’s feature department has been reduced by dozens of workers, though most of these will not be labeled as layoffs by the studio.