A documentary that tells the inspirational stories of the Stephen King dollar baby filmmakers, from the dollar deal to Hollywood.
What are Stephen King Dollar Babies?
Around 1976, Stephen King began a program designed to help young filmmakers get their start in the film industry. King offered student filmmakers limited rights to make a short film based on any of his short stories that had not already been optioned. While the first few remain unknown, in 1979 King granted the rights to two filmmakers who helped spread the word through their success stories.
Those men were Jeff Schiro and Frank Darabont.
To this day, they are the only filmmakers who saw their work released on home video, although another was allowed to show his on the Internet for a short period of time over 20 years later. Since then, Schiro has become a successful Hollywood editor while Frank Darabont went on to enjoy a successful film career, adapting feature length films based on King’s Shawshawnk Redemption, Green Mile and The Mist.
However, the stories of their Dollar Baby films, The Boogeyman and The Woman in the Room, remain a mystery to many people. Since that time, there have been over 75 Dollar Baby filmmakers. Due to the contracts, and to protect Stephen King’s rights to these properties, these dollar baby films can only be screened at film festivals, so the majority of fans will never see any of them.
Who am I?
My name is Shawn S. Lealos and I am the author of the upcoming novel Dollar Deal: The Story of the Stephen King Dollar Baby Filmmakers. I am also a filmmaker who got my start with the Stephen King Dollar Baby deal.
In 2000, I received my contracts from Stephen King to make a dollar baby based on the Night Shift story I Know What You Need. Soon, I began to meet other Dollar Baby filmmakers from across the world and started to hear about their success stories. In Dollar Deal: The Story of the Stephen King Dollar Baby Filmmakers, I will tell these filmmaker’s stories, showing how they used this special opportunity to start their careers in the entertainment industry.
Many of these filmmakers have gone on to have successful careers in Hollywood and on television. Some have gone on to direct movies starring names like Casper Van Dien, Cuba Gooding Jr., and more. Another Dollar Baby filmmaker went on to create the ABC television show The Event and worked as a consultant on The Vampire Diaries. Yet another works for Playboy in their video department and another is now successful novelist in his own right.
These are just some of the great careers that the Dollar Baby film program helped filmmakers attain.
I interviewed 17 of these Dollar Baby filmmakers for my book, which will be released later in 2013. Now, I want to tell their stories in a feature length documentary. However, to do this, it takes money. What I am asking for, in this Kickstarter campaign, is the bare minimum I need to make the movie.
What Will the Money Go Towards?
The money I am asking for will pay for travel expenses for myself and my Director of Photography, award-winning filmmaker Storme Wood, to go to Los Angeles and shoot interviews with a number of filmmakers currently working in Hollywood today, both in movies and on TV shows. At the moment, there are seven Dollar Baby filmmakers in Los Angeles who have agreed to take part in the documentary and share their stories.
It will allow us to travel Louisville, to interview Dollar Baby filmmaker Warren Ray who is currently acting in another filmmaker’s Dollar Baby movie. It will provide the money for us travel to Ohio to interview James Renner, a Dollar Baby filmmaker who directed All That You Love Will be Carried Away, starring Joe Bob Briggs and Harvey Pekar. He also organized the very first Dollar Baby film festival in the United States in Bangor, Maine, and was instrumental in bringing many of the Dollar Baby filmmakers together.
The money will also go to pay for equipment rentals, post-production work, and crew member’s salaries.
However, as I mentioned, I am asking for the bare minimum I need to shoot the Dollar Deal documentary. The goal I have set here will let me make those three trips and interview that limited number of filmmakers.
I would love to interview other filmmakers and possibly travel to Bangor, Maine, the home of Stephen King and the location of the first Dollar Baby festival. However, that can only be accomplished if I exceed the goal asked for here, so every dollar counts.
** UPDATE **
Update #1 · Sep 22, 2013 · I wanted to give an update with a clear description on what this documentary will be about. The documentary will follow three specific dollar baby filmmakers who have used Stephen King's dollar baby filmmaker deal to achieve success.
We will fly out to Los Angeles and spend a week there with a focus on covering Hollywood director Peter Sullivan (Night Surf) as he actually works on his current project. While there, we will also do individual interviews with the filmmakers in Los Angeles including Jeff Schiro, Jim Gonis, James Cox, Mikhail Tank and more.
We will go to Ohio to interview author James Renner and feature him as well. Renner held the first ever dollar baby film festival in America and helped get a number of those filmmakers together. If not for James Renner, I probably wouldn't have met all the dollar baby filmmakers I did. He now works as a novelist.
We will go to Louisville to interview Warren Ray, a dollar baby filmmaker who adapted The Man Who Loves Flowers and is presently acting in another director's dollar baby film, The Death Room.
These three men's stories will be showcased with interviews from many other dollar baby filmmakers creating the inspiring stories that resulted thanks to Stephen King's generosity.
Also, check out the following link to see some of my director of photography Storme Wood's video work - Storme Wood videos
So, Who are These Filmmakers?
The filmmakers that I will interview includes:
- Jeff Schiro, The Boogeyman
- James Cox, Grey Matter
- James Renner, All That You Love Will be Carried Away
- Jay Holben, Paranoid
- Jim Gonis, The Lawnmower Man
- Peter Sullivan, Night Surf
- Rodney Altman, Umney’s Last Case
- Warren Ray, Maxwell Edision (based on The Man Who Loved Flowers)
- Mikhail Tank, Willa, My Pretty Pony (with a third on the way)
- Doveed Linder, Strawberry Spring
This is just the start, as there are other names who I am working on securing time with, depending on how much money we can raise to shoot Dollar Deal: The Story of the Stephen King Dollar Baby Filmmakers.
So, What Is In It For You?
Well, we have put together some nice perks, including digital copies of the Dollar Deal book when it is released. There is also a chance to get a limited-edition physical copy of the book, which will not be available to purchase anywhere, with photographs exclusive to this version of the book.
We are offering a chance to be in the movie for a limited number of contributors. There will also be a number of items autographed by the filmmakers I interview, including two posters made specifically for this Kickstarter campaign, as well as the book itself.
Plus, you can be one of the first people to see the finished movie, own a copy on DVD, or even attend the world premiere and meet some of the filmmakers. We also have a chance to screen the movie in your home town, as long as you live in the contiguous United States.
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
All movies have risks and challenges involved. There is always a chance we make the trip to Los Angeles and one or two of the filmmakers will not be able to fulfill their end of the deal, but we are going to do everything we can to make sure we have backup plans and extra interviews to fall back on. This movie will be completed, but as with any project there are challenges involved.
These Stephen King Dollar Baby filmmakers have some of the most interesting, inspirational, and humorous stories to tell of their journey from a Dollar Baby filmmaker to Hollywood and beyond and I would love to share those stories with you. Please join me in making the documentary Dollar Deal: The Story of the Stephen King Dollar Baby Filmmakers so I can bring these stories to you.
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
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THE SKELETON CREW: Every dollar counts! You will receive a huge amount of gratitude and exclusive behind the scenes updates from the production.Estimated delivery:
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THE NIGHT SHIFT: You will be listed on the dollar deal website as a supporter of the Dollar Deal book and movie plus receive exclusive updates and a look at behind the scenes photos from the production.Estimated delivery:
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EVERYTHING'S EVENTUAL: The $10 Level + watch behind-the-scenes footage from the dollar baby documentary online as the movie is being made – you’ll get a digital screening link when the footage is released.Estimated delivery:
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THE DOLLAR DEAL: Receive a digital copy of the Dollar Deal book the week it is released + above levelsEstimated delivery:
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FOUR PAST MIDNIGHT: Receive a DVD of the movie before it is released + above levelsEstimated delivery:Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
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JUST AFTER SUNSET: The $35 Level + Receive a Blu-ray of the movie before it is released and an exclusive Dollar Deal t-shirt with original artwork.Estimated delivery:Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
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NIGHTMARE'S AND DREAMSCAPES: The $75 Level + Receive your choice of one of the autographed original artwork Dollar Deal posters, signed by the dollar baby filmmakers interviewed for the movie.Estimated delivery:Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
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THE SUN DOG: The $75 Level + BOTH autographed original artwork Dollar Deal posters, signed by the dollar baby filmmakers interviewed for the movie and book.Estimated delivery:Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
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ALL THAT YOU LOVE: The $150 Level + Receive your name in the closing credits of the Dollar Deal movie and in the acknowledgments in the Dollar Deal book as a supporter.Estimated delivery:Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
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I KNOW WHAT YOU NEED: The $200 Level + Receive an exclusive physical copy of the Dollar Deal book, not available for sale anywhere, and only available to donors and those associated with the Dollar Deal movie. This book contains exclusive photos from the dollar baby filmmakers that are not available in the digital copy of the book.Estimated delivery:Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
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HOME DELIVERY: The $10 Level + Receive an exclusive autographed physical copy of the Dollar Deal book, not available for sale anywhere, and only available to donors and those associated with the Dollar Deal movie. This book contains photos from the dollar baby filmmakers that are not available in the digital copy of the book and will be autographed by dollar baby filmmakers interviewed for the movie and book.Estimated delivery:Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
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BE A STAR: The $500 Level + Be in the movie. You will be interviewed on camera as a Stephen King fan and you are guaranteed to be in the final cut of the Dollar Deal documentary. Details on when and where this will take place will be determined based on location, any travel and lodging not included,Estimated delivery:Ships within the US only
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DOLLAR BABY BONUS: For Dollar Baby Filmmakers, we will promote your short dollar baby movie on the Dollar Deal website, displaying any photographs and trailers sent to us (we will not embed the movie, as that is against your contract). Shawn will also interview you for inclusion on the Dollar Deal website and book to help you promote your Dollar Baby movie and any future projects. For all older dollar baby filmmakers, we will embed or promote any of your post- or pre-Dollar Baby films, music, books, ect. on the Dollar Deal site as long as you own all rights to the work + The $500 LevelEstimated delivery:
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SPECIAL GUESTS: The $500 Level + Receive passes for up to four people to see the world premiere of the movie, which will take place in either Oklahoma or Texas. The director and other Dollar Baby filmmakers will also be in attendance at the premiere for a meet and greet and question and answer session following the movie. Transportation and lodging are not included.Estimated delivery:
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PRODUCER CREDIT: The $1000 Level + Be a producer of the movie. You will receive producer’s credit in the Dollar Deal movie and be listed on IMDB and all the movie’s press kits as a producer of the film. You will also receive the four passes to the premiere screening of the movie in the $1,000 level and have dinner with the filmmakers in attendance before or after the premiere.Estimated delivery:
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THE LAST RUNG ON THE LADDER: The $500 Level + We will screen the movie in a location near your home town, within the 48 contiguous United States. This will allow you, your friends and family to receive free VIP entry to the screening and a chance to meet the director of the movie (and possibly other guests depending on the location), who will also provide a question and answer session following the screening.Estimated delivery:Ships within the US only
- (25 days)