Proving Ground – The Movie!

proving ground movie key figures david tarver and steven moore
photo credit: Eric Ruth

The Proving Ground movie tells the story of my entrepreneurial journey from determined and precocious kid in Flint Michigan to leader of a multi-million-dollar global telecommunications instrumentation company. The movie draws from my book “Proving Ground: A Memoir,” which culminates in the inspiring story of how I and my two co-founders – Steven Moore and Charles Simmons – left our lucrative and secure positions at the legendary Bell Laboratories and started a business, from scratch, in my basement. For years, young and old alike have read the story and been inspired, but these days a book – especially one that is 488 pages long – reaches only so many people. The movie seeks to tell the amazing story of what three young black men were able to accomplish, on their own initiative, with no outside investment. It portrays a black-led multicultural team of really bright people who arrived at work each day determined to design, manufacture, and sell some of the world’s best telecommunications products. The movie introduces a different narrative about black achievement and leadership, and it inspires people from all walks of life. Making the story available as a documentary film will enable it to impact the widest possible audience.

Why should folks be interested in seeing the Proving Ground movie?

There are several good reasons why the Proving Ground movie should be made, and why people will enjoy seeing the story depicted on film.

  1. There has never been a movie that depicts a black technology startup.
    • Hard to believe, but true.
  2. There has never been a black technology startup quite like the one depicted in Proving Ground.
    • I came of age in 1960s Flint, Michigan with a burning desire to start an electronics manufacturing company. Years later, my two co-founders and I started literally in the basement of my Little Silver, New Jersey home and built a global telecommunications instrumentation business.
  3. The Proving Ground Story is an important piece of black history and American history.
    • The founders represent a generation of black professionals whose talents were unleashed by the end of legalized segregation. Their success was enabled by the civil-rights victories of the 1950s and 1960s.
  4. The Proving Ground story is a powerful motivator.
    • The film will energize, inform, and inspire people from many backgrounds. It will serve as a graphic example of how inclusive innovation benefits community, industry, and country.
  5. The Proving Ground movie will be engaging and entertaining.
    • The film will blend principal character interviews with professionally acted scenes. The movie has the potential to be a cultural phenomenon that increases understanding and fuels an increase in national competitiveness.
  6. The Proving Ground movie will be a top-notch, professionally produced film.
    • Well-made movies cost money. They require professional writing, production, direction, and acting. However, the potential positive economic and social impact of the Proving Ground movie far exceeds its cost.

Help us tell the story.

proving ground movie - TAS co-founders
(L-R) TAS co-founders Steven Moore, David Tarver, Charles Simmons executing the sale of the company, November 22, 1995.

You can help determine the direction of the Proving Ground movie project. Please take a few moments to review the brief movie synopsis at this link, and give us your honest opinion. Does this story seem compelling to you? Do you think it will have the kind of impact we described above? What important aspect of the story might we have missed? If you are so inclined, we’d really appreciate it if you would document your feedback in this quick poll.

As indicated above, producing, promoting, and distributing a high quality film takes significant money. If you know of individuals or organizations that may be interested in sponsoring the Proving Ground movie, please let us know. Large contributions can qualify contributors for film credits such as Executive Producer, Co-Executive Producer, or Associate Producer, and openings are available.

We will definitely communicate all of your feedback, ideas, and sponsorship suggestions to the filmmakers.

An important note: the person slated to direct the Proving Ground movie, Nailah Jefferson, is an accomplished documentary filmmaker. In fact, she has a new movie currently showing on HBO (MAX)! The movie is “Donyale Luna: Supermodel,” and it tells the largely unknown story of the first black supermodel – a young woman from Detroit! If you check out this movie you will be entertained, and you’ll witness the outstanding quality of Nailah Jefferson’s work.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 07: Director Nailah Jefferson attends the New York Screening of Donyale Luna: Supermodel on September 07, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for HBO)

4 thoughts on “Proving Ground – The Movie!

  1. David, Possibly connecting with Tyler Perry’s organization may give some fast-start prominence to this project.

  2. Thanks for sharing this great news! The movie “Providing Ground” will bring a powerful message of the American dream to life. I have continued to bring this entrepreneurial journey to my students at Lawrence Tech. The story of inventiveness and the entrepreneurial engineers clearly demonstrates the significant contribution of African Americans to society. I am looking forward to viewing the movie and encouraging others to see it. Congratulations and best wishes on making this possible.

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