What is Creative Control?

As a lawyer, I appreciate the fine art of words.  I don’t always stop and think about the definition of a word, but today, I’m going to define “creative control” in two ways.  The first, by looking up the words in the dictionary.  The second, my interpretation.

Creative Control:  Artistic control or creative control is a term commonly used in media production, such as movies, television, and music production. A person with artistic control has the authority to decide how the final product will appear. In movies, this commonly refers to the authority to decide on the final cut. When a production manager/director does not have artistic control, the studio that is producing the project commonly has the final say on production.


  1. 1:  marked by the ability or power to create :  given to creating <the creative impulse>

  2. 2:  having the quality of something created rather than imitated :  imaginative <the creativearts>

  3. 3:  managed so as to get around legal or conventional limits <creative financing>; also :  deceptively arranged so as to conceal or defraud <creative accounting>

cre·a·tive·ly adverb
cre·a·tive·ness noun


  1. 1a archaic :  to check, test, or verify by evidence or experiments b :  to incorporate suitable controls in <a controlled experiment>

  2. 2a :  to exercise restraining or directing influence over :  regulate b :  to have power over :  rule c :  to reduce the incidence or severity of especially to innocuous levels <control an insect population> <control a disease>

  3. :  to incorporate controls in an experiment or study —used with for <control for socioeconomic differences>

con·trol·la·bil·i·ty play\-ˌtrō-lə-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun
con·trol·la·ble play\-ˈtrō-lə-bəl\ adjective
I’m especially drawn to the definition found in Wikipedia:  when a person has artistic (creative) control they have 100% say over the final product.  And, the Wikipedia definition also explains what happens when there is a lack of creative control . . . the studio (or employer, or colleague, or partner) gets to decide.  BAM.
I’m also amused by the fact that in the Merriam Webster definition, “creative” also has a negative connotation.  Creative financing :).  Alas, my motives behind having creative control are pure and not intended for evil . . . however, I do plan to push conventional limits with my creativity, so in that sense, I accept definition # 3.


At the end of my life, when I look back on my years on this Earth, I want to proudly say that I was creative.  In order to live creatively, I have defined creative control in this way:

the ability to express myself in my own unique way, on my own schedule, without asking for permission.

Sounds about right.  I’ve discovered my WHY.



Creative Control-the ability to express myself in my own unique way, on my own schedule, without asking for permission

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