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. (Wikipedia)


marked by the ability or power to create: given to creating; or

having the quality of something created rather than imitated: imaginative; or

managed so as to get around legal or conventional limits; also: deceptively arranged so as to conceal or defraud.


to check, test, or verify by evidence or experiments; or

to exercise restraining or directing influence over;  regulate;  to have power over; or

to incorporate controls in an experiment or study.

(Merriam Webster)

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