This blog, brought to you by UPP Studios, discusses the importance of owning creative control of one's production, within the entertainment industry. To many writers, owning creative control over their production is a must. Chances are, they have a very specific vision, that they don't want to see changed in any way. The studios have become much more progressive than they used to be, and a lot more faith and freedom is being given to the creators of the material. As mentioned in UPP Studios blog entry 010 | Independent Web Television, Louis C.K. chose FX to produce his television show, specifically because owning creative control was essential to bringing his vision to fruition.
There are instances in which the studio pushes back, but one must stand one's ground if one believes in the structural integrity of his work at it's foundation. Sylvester Stallone, in a moment of sheer inspiration, wrote the entire script for the first Rocky film in 3 1/2 days. Stallone brought the script to United Artists, who loved the script, but felt the project would be more successful if the lead actor were one with more notoriety than Stallone. The studio was interested in Ryan O'Neil, Robert Redford, James Caan, or Burt Reynolds. Owning creative control doesn't just mean protecting the script, but it also means having a say in the casting of one's project. Stallone could have just taken a check and handed the project off to United Artists. However, Stallone knew that he would have had major regrets had the project found success without him at the center of it. As such, Stallone fought to stay in the project, convincing the studio he could make the film quickly, and with a low budget. Subsequently, the final product, costing a little over one million dollars to make, took 28 days to film. It won 3 oscars (including best picture), was the highest grossing film of 1976, and was ranked second best in it's genre, after Raging Bull, by the American Film Institute in 2008. Owning creative control over his project, was the smartest career move Sylvester Stallone could have made, and it turned him into a star.
Stallone was fortunate that things worked out, not only so well for him, but also with such a quick turnaround. For some, owning creative control of their project, means the project will take substantially longer to produce. It is for this very reason, that creative types often struggle with what their real personal end goals are, and whether or not waiting on production, in an attempt to retain creative control, fits into that trajectory.