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Exclusive: DreamWorks Pictures HR boss talks about keeping a creative workforce constantly inspired

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DreamWorks Pictures' global head of HR speaks out about the challenges of keeping his workforce creative and motivated.

In an interview with www.meettheboss.tv, Dan Satterthwaite (pictured) explained: "It takes three to three and a half years to produce one of our films, and most of our artists spend anywhere from 18 months to two years within their particular department working on a project. How do you keep them constantly inspired?

"Using innovation and technology to make sure that we can really carry forward the collaborative environment is what ends up making our stories and our films so unique and special," he explained.

But, he claims, as well as educational days out and team shuffling, real-time communication is the best way to ensure every department in the company is fully aware of the "bigger picture".

DreamWorks Pictures spun off DreamWorks Animation as a public company in 2004. And while the company name responsible for big hits like Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar carries weight with audiences, continuing to produce such unique family entertainment is always a challenge.

Satherwaite is responsible for developing and supporting the creative talent of Dreamworks Pictures' newest 3-D movie, How to Train Your Dragon, which hits theatres in the US on 26 March.
   
DreamWorks is not like an average company, but it has met the same challenges as everyone else during the global downturn. Satterthwaite's responsibility was to keep the workforce settled during this difficult time with a mindset to be as creative as possible and believes that lessons could be learned from his example in other hard industries.
 
He explained: "Virtually every other major company in the state and even across the entire country was doing mass layoffs, or at least had the threat of people losing jobs, and we wanted to make sure that our people knew that if that time ever came at DreamWorks it would be the absolute last resort."
 
"It was a commitment we made, because keeping people focused on creative work and keeping people focused on innovation, inherently requires them to take risks. In an environment where people are fearful, they will not take risks, and we just cannot afford to let the creativity or innovation that drives this entire company in any way be affected by the uncertainty and fear that the outside world has created over the past 18 months."
 
To watch the video in full visit http://www.MeetTheBoss.tv