ONE THING THAT BUGGED ME about doing TV at my first agency (rhymed with oh hell) was that they treated me like, well, the writer. As in Hollywood, I was expected to hand over a neatly typed script, and then keep quiet while the director and the producers pursued their vision.

The only consolation was that, much to my surprise, the director got his when it came time to edit—editors were as protective of their craft as directors were of theirs, partly because an editing suite was more expensive per hour than the client’s dinner companion. There was no budget for directors sitting there trying to turn a kitty litter spot into Natural Born Killers.

But, of course, editing isn’t expensive at all now—my Mac and Final Cut Express are basically the equal of an Avid system of just a few years ago. If I were working on a spot right now, I’d fight like hell to get the footage to play around with on my own. The writer is one of the few people on a project from beginning to end; if suddenly I had as much power to create at the end of a project as I did when there was only blank paper at the beginning, who knows what that might change about the final product?

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