In 1976, horror novelist Stephen King began a program to help young filmmakers and film studies students get their start in the film industry. But as famous as he and his films are, relatively few people are aware of it.
University of Oklahoma graduate and Norman resident Shawn S. Lealos is author of the upcoming book “Dollar Deal: The Story of the Stephen King Dollar Baby Filmmakers” and a filmmaker himself who got his start with the Stephen King Dollar Baby Deal.
Lealos received his Dollar Baby contract from Stephen King in 2000 and made a short film based on King's Night Shift story “I Know What You Need.” Due to contracts that protect Stephen King's intellectual property rights, film festivals are one of the only ways these short horror and thriller films can be seen.
Lealos' film has been screened at these events internationally.
It was then that he began to meet other Dollar Baby filmmakers from across the world and started to hear about the successful careers that previous Dollar Babies have gone on to after their Dollar Deal start with King.
Of the more than 75 Dollar Baby filmmakers, many have gone on to success in the film industry including acclaimed Hollywood producer Frank Darabont (“Shawshank Redemption,” “Green Mile,” “The Walking Dead”).
Lealos hopes to begin production soon on a documentary based on his book that tells the stories of the Stephen King Dollar Baby filmmakers, from their Dollar Deal to Hollywood. Currently there is a Kickstarter.com campaign to raise $50,000 to shoot his film.