One day in 2001, I went to my mailbox and the envelope I found there changed my life. Inside were three contracts from horror author Stephen King, allowing me to make a short film based on one of his short stories under his “Dollar Baby” film agreement.
After a short celebration, I set out and made my short film, “I Know What You Need,” with the money I could raise and realized the hardest part was still ahead of me.
I made a short film based on a Stephen King story but, according to the contracts, I could only use it on my product reel or in film festivals. I had a golden opportunity to use Stephen King’s name to help me move forward in my filmmaking career but how could I capitalize on it without the ability to screen the movie?
The first step I took to promote my new film was to set up a website with all the information I could load onto it. I set the website up under the name of my production company and hired someone to create a poster for the movie.
I found an artist in Massachusetts named Dan Cleri and worked out a deal for him to create the movie poster and then, once it was ready, I slapped it on the front page of the new website with a link going to the movie’s information.
I made sure during filmmaking that we had a still photographer on hand to snap shots throughout the making of the movie. I loaded those stills onto the website to coincide with an online journal detailing the entire making of the movie, from the headaches to the triumphs. Along with the news, I listed an email address for anyone who wanted to contact me.
The website worked perfectly for its intended purpose. Soon, I began to receive emails from other “Dollar Baby” filmmakers, wishing me luck and giving me advice. Then I received an email from a man in the Netherlands named Bernd Lautenslager who runs a Stephen King short movies website.
Bernd contacted me and soon put up a trailer we shot for the movie as well as an interview he conducted with me. This interview and promotion helped get “I Know What You Need” noticed by the Stephen King fansite, “Lilja’s Library.”
“I Know What You Need” was reviewed for Lilja’s Library and I soon received an email asking for permission to show the movie in a film festival at Stephen King’s alma-mater in Bangor, Maine. I quickly jumped at the chance and, once that film festival was made public, I was allowed to enter my movie’s information on IMDB.COM for the world to see.
Since that first festival, I have been able to screen the movie at film festivals in the Netherlands, Argentina and Los Angeles. My website has expired over the years but Bernd keeps the promotion alive through his site and I still get contacted occasionally for requests for screenings. Thanks to hard work promoting “I Know What You Need” online, it helped my movie build up a head of steam and garnered me more attention than I ever dreamed.