Why Stephen King Sold The Rights To One Of His Short Stories For Just $1

They're called "Dollar Babies."

Author Stephen King has quite a few stories in his catalog, so it's no surprise that there are plenty of filmmakers who want to adapt them into movies of their own. But you don't have to be a big name in Hollywood to have the chance.

King recently granted Blaenau Gwent Film Academy in Wales permission to adapt his story "Stationary Bike" into a movie, and he sold them the rights to it for only $1. As it turns out, this wasn't even a special circumstance.


The author actually has a section on his website devoted to what he calls "Dollar Babies." It includes a list of stories which are "available for film students who want to try their hands at a Stephen King story." Aspiring filmmakers can send a request to make their own version of a story on the list.

"We knew already that Stephen King was excellent at supporting education establishments," Blaenau Gwent Film Academy tutor Kevin Phillips told Mashable. "[And] we came across this website where, actually, he releases many of his short stories for adaption, you know non-profit of course."

He shared that King's secretary responded to their message within 24 hours, and the Academy had confirmation within days, after being sent a contract which was signed by King himself. It included the request that he receive a copy of the finished film, which is reportedly being written by two students aged 14 and 16. An estimated 30 students will work on the film.

The New York Daily News points out that selling the rights for just $1 allows students to enter their works into film festivals without the risk of copyright infringement.

"The main thing is that it'll be used to boost the confidence of our young, up-and-coming film-makers to actually say that they've worked on a Stephen King film," Phillips added. "It won't only boost their confidence, but it'll also enhance their CVs and hopefully stand as a stepping stone to further their careers."

They're in good company, as Uproxx reports that there have been approximately six dozen feature-length films based on King's work, not even including shorts, anthology movies, and TV films. Notably, Mashable points out that Shawshank Redemption director Frank Darabont previously adapted Dollar Baby "The Woman in the Room" in 1983.

Cover image: George Koroneos / Shutterstock.com


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