If I were running a contest regarding which animation facility to which I have access enjoys the best morale, I would probably say it's DreamWorks Animation in sun-kissed Glendale ...
It's not that people working inside the Italianate Plaza in Glendale are ecstatic from nine to five, only that relatively speaking, the gripes and general displeasure vibes which I pick up are are less than elsewhere. Hulett's Rule for Studio Personnel?
Cartoon Staffs at Cartoon Studios fall into three broad categories: The Happy, the Mildly Disgruntled, the Chronically Disgruntled ...
You can tell the temperature of a studio, morale-wise, by the size of each of the above groups. If the biggest contingent is "Happy," then the studio is doing better than okay. If the largest is "Chronically Disgruntled", then there are problems, likely big problems. (Please keep in mind: because of the present miserable condition of the overarching economy, the roster of the Chronically Disgruntled has been greatly reduced. People are delighted just to be freaking employed.)
Another reason DreamWorks Animation crews aren't complaining is, the artists I have talked to are, by and large, pleased with the films they're working on. The consensus on the new Shrek -- out the middle of next year -- is that "It's funnier and better than #3" ... "works well" ... (etc.).
The staff on How to Train Your Dragon has picked up its already brisk pace because "Production's wrapping in February and there's a bunch left to do." (Like when is there not? Dragon has -- I'm told -- a schedule of about 10-12 months. And Disney staffers inform me the bulk or Rapunzel has a nine to ten-month production schedule. "Do it with alacrity" is the order of the present age.)
And DreamWorks Animation has a lot of projects* in development, more than any other studio I can think of. Its track record has been solid for the last couple of years, and whether or not How to Train Your Dragon is a chart buster early in 2010, I'm reasonably certain that Shrek Forever After will make enough coin mid-year so that the company will be able to open its own mint.
No wonder Jeffrey has a bright, shiny 2010 Prius.
* Projects I've seen in work or know about: How to Train Your Dragon, Shrek 4, Puss in Boots, Oobermind, Kung Fu Panda, The Guardians of Childhood, Shrek 5, Madgascar 3, The Croods, Trucker, Ghost Project ... and four half-hour teevee specials, some of which are being done in India. (DWA has a staff of 120 on the sub-continent.)