October 14, 2019

Here's How You Can License a Stephen King Story for $1

Are you a student? Got a dollar? Well, you’re in luck! 

[UPDATE: One of our readers posted on Facebook that the "Dollar Babies" program is actually suspended until December 2019. While this information is not available on the Dollar Babies page, it is available via moderator comment on a specific story page. Looks like they hope to be up and running again in December 2019.]

After seeing a mysteriously never-ending maze of vegetation (In The Tall Grass), watching Jessica Chastain swim in the world record for fake blood used in a film (IT 2), or questioning whether furry friends can or should come back to life (Pet Sematary), you've likely been inspired to adapt a Stephen King work for yourself. And now you can. 

For the last few decades, King has offered film students the opportunity to license a story for just one dollar. Yup. A buck.

Stephen KingCredit: From stephenking.com

Named “Dollar Babies,” the films can only be shown at film festivals as student entries or used in demo reels -- that means no commercial viewing or selling allowed. But, Stephen King will get a copy to keep on his shelves and you get to put “made a film based on a Stephen King story” on your resume. That's a pretty great deal for $1.

The author's official website maintains a list of available stories that you can apply to license out. All of the titles are short stories, not novels. The website notes that it may take a month to turn around the application, so if you’re looking to produce a film for an academic project, it is best to start the process of getting the rights as soon as possible.  

As shared by Den of Geek, the beginnings of the Dollar Babies program are revealed in King's introduction of the shooting script for Frank Darabont’s The Shawshank Redemption. King shares that, in 1977, students would ask him for permission to make films based on his short stories. Since then, he has opened up the possibility of licensing stories for just one dollar. As reported by Mashable, one of the more recent approvals was for “Stationary Bike," which was granted to students at Blaenau Gwent Film Academy in the UK. 

As you tackle your proposal, and you’re looking for some scriptwriting guidelines and horror film suggestions, we’ve got you covered! Check out our storyboard templates to help tell your newly-acquired Stephen King story, read suggestions about filmmaking from IT and IT 2 director Andy Muschiettii and learn about the 8 Reasons Why You Should Make A Horror Film.

To submit your proposal for a Dollar Baby, head to Stephen King's website. If you're interested in learning more about past Dollar Babies, check out the book Dollar Deal, written by Dollar Baby recipient Shawn S. Lealos.

Good luck, and, be sure to let us know about your success getting the rights to a King story.      

Featured image is Netflix's "In The Tall Grass" - https://www.netflix.com/title/80237905 

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