Shawn Kelly of Animation Mentor has written a column that accurately describes the animator's role in a large production. Animation students who currently have creative freedom are advised to read it (and perhaps weep). Having personally created a TV series, I found that I was still a tool of broadcasters and distributors.
Richard Williams once said that the golden rule was that the guy with the gold makes the rules. Unless you're financing your own work, you're going to be answering to somebody.