The Dollar Baby Club is a Screenwriting Program for youth ages 8-18, that has a core goal of getting their screenplays approved by bestselling author Stephen King in his Dollar Baby program. Not only will a youth's completion of the program leave them with lifelong valuable skills and information, but will also be a major resume builder
Stephen Edwin King (born September 21, 1947) is an American author of horror, supernatural fiction, suspense, crime, science-fiction, and fantasy novels. Described as the "King of Horror", his books have sold more than 350 million copies as of 2006 and many have been adapted into films, television series, miniseries, and comic books. King has published 64 novels, including seven under the pen name Richard Bachman, and five non-fiction books. He has also written approximately 200 short stories, most of which have been published in book collections.
King has received Bram Stoker Awards, World Fantasy Awards, and British Fantasy Society Awards. In 2003, the National Book Foundation awarded him the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He has also received awards for his contribution to literature for his entire bibliography, such as the 2004 World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement and the 2007 Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America.. In 2015, he was awarded with a National Medal of Arts from the U.S. National Endowment for the Arts for his contributions to literature.
Stephen King's Dollar Baby Program
The Dollar Baby (or Dollar Deal) is an arrangement in which American author Stephen King grants permission to students and aspiring filmmakers or theater producers to adapt one of his short stories for $1. King retains the rights to his work, but as he began to experience commercial success, he decided to use the Dollar Baby to help the next generation of creatives. The term may be used to refer to both the adaptation itself and the person adapting it; for example, "The Sun Dog" was made as a Dollar Baby and filmmaker Matt Flesher became a Dollar Baby upon adapting it.
"Around 1977 or so, when I started having some popular success, I saw a way to give back a little of the joy the movies had given me. 77 was the year young filmmakers – college students, for the most part – started writing me about the stories I'd published (first in Night Shift, later in Skeleton Crew), wanting to make short films out of them. Over the objections of my accountant, who saw all sorts of possible legal problems, I established a policy which still holds today. I will grant any student filmmaker the right to make a movie out of any short story I have written (not the novels, that would be ridiculous), so long as the film rights are still mine to assign. I ask them to sign a paper promising that no resulting film will be exhibited commercially without approval, and that they send me a videotape of the finished work. For this one-time right I ask a dollar. I have made the dollar-deal, as I call it, over my accountant's moans and head-clutching protests sixteen or seventeen times as of this writing"
Once the film was made and King received his copy, he explains, "...I'd look at the films... then put them up on a shelf I had marked 'Dollar Babies'."
Frank Darabont was 20 years old when he made his Dollar Baby adaptation of "The Woman in the Room". It was eventually released in 1986 on VHS by Granite Entertainment Group Interglobal Home Video as part of the Stephen King's Night Shift Collection, along with New York University film student Jeff Schiro's adaptation of "The Boogeyman", and John Woodward's "Disciples of the Crow". Darabont later wrote adaptations and directed three feature films based on Stephen King's novels: The Mist, The Shawshank Redemption, and The Green Mile. The latter two films were nominated for multiple Academy Awards including Best Picture.
Author Stephen J. Spignesi was one of the first to publicly discuss the Dollar Babies in his exhaustive volume The Stephen King Encyclopedia. He wrote about two student film adaptations of King stories: "The Last Rung on the Ladder" (1987) by James Cole and Dan Thron, and "The Lawnmower Man" (1987) by Jim Gonis.