I Know What You Need is a short film by Julia Marchese, based on the short story by Stephen King
I am a Constant Reader who has acquired the rights to turn my favorite Stephen King short story, I Know What You Need (from 1978’s Night Shift) into a short film
This is part of Stephen King’s Dollar Baby Program
The film will take place in the year the story was originally published in Cosmopolitan Magazine – 1976
The film will be shot in the exact locations mentioned in the story, on the beautiful University of Maine campus, in the Summer of 2021
Stephen King requires every Dollar Baby short to send a copy of the finished film for him to view – so you can be a part of a film that Stephen King will see!
Hi! My name is Julia Marchese and I am a filmmaker living in Los Angeles.
My first film, 2016’s Out of Print, is a documentary about the importance of revival cinema and 35mm exhibition and preservation to culture. It features interviews with filmmakers such as Rian Johnson, Edgar Wright, Kevin Smith, Joe Dante, Mark Romanek, John Landis, Stuart Gordon, Joe Carnahan, Tom Holland and many more. I was able to fund the film via Kickstarter and learned how to make a film by making a film – from pre-production to post-production, screenings, festivals, press and distribution, I went through every single step with passion for cinema and joy of learning.
Out of Print was shot half on film and half on digital, and I was so thrilled to have a 35mm print of the film made. The film won the Programmers Award at the Sidewalk Film Festival and has played at art house cinemas, universities and film archives all over the world. The film is available on DVD, Amazon Prime and streaming & the 35mm print is still touring the world, having just played the Film Archive in Austria earlier this year. The film print lives now at The Academy Film Archive in Hollywood between screenings.
I am also a Constant Reader.
I’ve loved Stephen King obsessively since I was about 11 years old, the girl on the bus furiously reading It and Carrie and Pet Sematary over and over. In junior high I enthusiastically made all my friends watch Pet Sematary and even dressed like Post-Micmac-Burial-Ground Gage Creed for Halloween one year as a kid. I’m hardcore.
I realized two and half years ago that I had never tackled his master work, The Dark Tower series. This needed to be remedied immediately. So I devoured the books, loving each one more and more and starting to panic as I neared the end of the series. I didn’t want the story to end!! I got to the 11th stanza in book 7 – The Song of Susannah (Constant Readers will know where I mean) where the reveal was going to be so good and I was so excited, that I needed to prolong that feeling as long as possible.
So I decided to pause my reading there and read every Stephen King novel and short story related to the The Dark Tower (there are A LOT, over 40 short stories and novels combined!) before re-reading the Tower series (and then continue on to the Marvel comic series omnibuses and The Dark Tower companions after that). It’s taken me two and a half years so far and I am still working on it. It’s the most incredibly brilliant literary multiverse puzzle that I have ever undertaken, and I am enjoying putting the pieces into place more than I can say.
I truly know and love Stephen King’s work from a real, cherished place in my heart that has been in my life every day for a very long time.
Stephen King has an incredible program called the Dollar Baby Program, which allows the rights of certain stories of his to be bought for one dollar (and you really do send him a dollar bill in the mail)! The contract states that the rights are good for one year, and the resulting film must be 45 minutes or under, plus the film must be non-profit, non-broadcast – which means the film cannot be sold, but it can be shown at film festivals and in private screenings.
That means the only way you are guaranteed to see this film is to contribute to this campaign and get a private live stream link sent to you when the film is finished.
Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the contract is that Stephen King asks that all finished Dollar Baby films be sent to him to view – so dig this – he sells the rights to the stories for $1, basically because he’s curious to see how other people view and interpret his work – how cool is that?
Knowing that Stephen King himself will watch a film that you can be a part of is a pretty awesome and unique opportunity!
I Know What You Need is a short story that was first featured in the September 1976 issue of Cosmopolitan Magazine, and then compiled into the short story collection Night Shift in 1978. The story centers on Elizabeth, a popular college junior who is approached one night by Edward, an unkempt outcast whose first words to her are “I Know What You Need” – and she is shocked to discover that he does.
I fell in love with Edward’s character within sentences and was completely drawn in and so curious about him – just as the main character, Elizabeth, is in the story. It’s a love story – but it’s a Stephen King love story – so you know everything isn’t always as it seems to be. The story is quite contained, with only three main characters. In addition to the characters mentioned above, there is also Elizabeth’s roommate, Alice, who wants to protect her friend.
I think it is imperative, for narrative reasons, to keep the story to the year it is set, 1976 – the story takes place in a different time, in a different kind of world (one that doesn’t include the internet, for one). Double that with my love for vintage aesthetics, especially of the 60’s & 70’s, and that means I’m very excited to take on a period piece! Because it is such an intimate piece, I think this can be done cheaply and efficiently.
Naturally, as a woman, my vision for the story is probably very different from Stephen King’s, but that’s why I am so interested to see it come to life – the writer of the story is male, but the protagonist is female – and now will be adapted & directed by a female filmmaker. That being said, I feel very strongly as a Constant Reader that the dialogue and feel of any film based on King’s work should stay as close to the original story as possible, and I’ve definitely kept that in mind when adapting the screenplay. Most of the dialogue is taken word for word from the story.
I’m also so incredibly thrilled that the The University of Maine – where Stephen King attended and where the story is set – will be allowing us to shoot this short film on their beautiful campus!
So that means this movie will be shot in the exact same locations that Stephen King wrote about in the story!
I am beyond excited to be able to shoot this film in the gorgeous state of Maine. Last November I took a Stephen King pilgrimage to see the towns I read so much about all of these years – the names had taken on a kind of magical quality to them – Pownal, Portland, Bangor, Ludlow – such a beautiful state, with gorgeous scenery and lovely people. I took an amazing Stephen King tour of Bangor and was in absolute heaven walking around “Derry” and seeing the canals, the storm pipe, the bird baths, Paul Bunyan, Pennywise’s drain, and even Stephen King’s house itself. It was like walking through one of his novels. Pure bliss. I can’t wait to show the beauty of this incredible state.
I am very serious about making films that people are paid fairly on. Having made a feature film, I know how everything always takes longer and costs more than you think it will, so I am budgeting in for that (plus the added cost of transportation, doing a period piece, Indiegogo’s fees, etc) I have laid out below where the money will be going. Of course, if we exceed this goal we will be able to shoot in more locations on more days, with lusher art direction and I would really love to be able to shoot on film as well! Thrilled that my cinematographer from Out of Print, Alex Simon, will be returning to shoot the film and my brother, Peter Marchese, who did the amazing score for Out of Print will be returning to score this film as well!
After the film is finished and goes through post production, I will start a festival run, as well as letting our backers see the film via private streaming links.
So what exactly will this money be used for?
Cast & Crew – We want everyone to be paid fairly on this film. It doesn’t mean actors and crew will make a ton of money, but it does mean that they won’t be volunteering their time. They’ll be compensated for the hard work they put in.
Equipment – We want to be able to use equipment that will allow the film to be up to today’s high standards, yet look completely vintage. Equipment also includes all lighting and sound on set. If we surpass our original goal, our first stretch goal is to be able to shoot this film on 16mm film as well, which would be my preference, of course!
Locations – In addition to filming on the University of Maine campus, we will also need some other locations, including an apartment and a few restaurants which we plan to source from local Maine establishments, and pay the owners for the use of their business and time.
Transportation – Core crew will be flying from California to Maine, other crew and actors will likely be driven in from NYC, so gas money and car rentals as well as airplane tickets.
Art & Production Design – the film is a period piece and will take place in 1976, and that means a whole lotta vintage. The film is very contained, but we will still need to buy set dressing for a dorm room plus two apartments and guarantee the film looks genuinely 1970’s. We also will need two vintage cars to be rented for the shoot.
Wardrobe/Props – Although the film only has three main characters, there are several different outfit changes, plus sourcing genuine 1970’s props, including textbooks, suitcases, and photographs.
Post Production – including score composition, editing, sound mixing and color correction. This is a very important part of the process and we want to be sure that the film looks as good as possible, has an incredible soundtrack, and that all of the people contributing to post get paid fairly.
Taxes & Fees – This is to cover not only the fees that Indiegogo takes from the campaign, but also to cover the charges for taxes on the film.
Legal & Insurance – All films come with a tremendous amount of paperwork, most insuring the safety of the cast, crew and filming locations, which is of course, great! We want everyone working on this film to be as safe as possible, of course.
Craft Services – All of the cast and crew will need to be fed, of course! Snacks are a must on long shoot days, and while pizza is delicious, it’s not something you want to be eating for every meal on a shoot! We will make sure no one goes hungry, and everyone gets some actual nutrition on set as well.
Festival Run – We want to submit the film to festivals and that means entrance fees! The more we make, the more festivals we can submit to!
Health & Safety – in these global pandemic times, we will go above and beyond to be sure that our set is clean, sterilized and healthy, and that everyone has plenty of face masks, gloves and feels safe and comfortable.
Thank you so much for reading and hope I have convinced you to help out this super cool project. I know that we are living in a strange time, with a pandemic, high unemployment and the future uncertain, but I’ve decided to try and push forward with this project – the contract has a year long time frame – so I can only do this now, plus it gives me something exciting to hope and strive for when everything can tend to seem grim.
This is my dream project, and I have to at least try my hardest to make this happen.
If you can’t or don’t want to donate, spread the word and I’ll be just as pleased. Seriously. Word of mouth, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok, Snapchat – I’ll take anything! The way things get funded is by people telling their friends. So please do. And as one Constant Reader to another, I hope you will let all of the King fans in your life know about this campaign as well.
I will bring 100% to this film and hope to make Stephen King proud.
You can contact me via iknowwhatyouneedfilm at yahoo dot com.
*Music in campaign video by Ketsa
** Poster design by Mike Baird