Winning Short Screenplay – The Proving Grounds by Michael Boyd

Written by Michael Boyd


LUTHY – Gabriel Darku
NANCY – Kelly Daly
NARRATOR – Laura Kyswaty


Genre: Horror, Thriller, Drama, Western.

It takes place in the early 1970s during the time of the Nevada desert atomic bomb tests.

What is your screenplay about?

It takes place in the early 1970s during the time of the Nevada desert atomic bomb tests. It is about a man called Luther who recovers from a mysterious and lethal form of cancer, he cannot fathom his miraculous recovery from a disease that should have killed him. Because of his parents blurry past he believes that the answers to his recovery may lie in his parents home town, a small township in the Nevada desert. He enters this town which has a weird atmosphere. He meets a waitress, a physics student and a psychopathic drifter in this town and these people are forced to confront complete madness if they are to find the answers they seek.

What genres does your screenplay under?

Horror, Thriller, Drama, Western.

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

I feel that precious few true horror films are made any more and even fewer have compelling characters, story and intrigue. I despair a bit when I see horror films which are always diluted down by other genres I want to make a horror film that is exactly that a horror film that will scare you, disturb you, entertain you and stay with you and that will always give you some new nuance or aspect with repeated viewings.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Compelling and frightening.

What movie have you seen the most times in your life?

The History Boys

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

Five years.

How many stories have you written?


What motivated you to write this screenplay?

I was captivated by my uncle’s idea and I wanted to develop it and my mind flooded with ideas for it.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

Different people who read my screenplay of course gave me different feedback and some of it conflicted with others, so it was tricky trying to improve the script in many ways at once without falling into the trap of correcting one aspect whilst making another incorrect.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Filmmaking, directing, editing, bodybuilding, cats, karate, fitness, tennis, snooker, graphic novels, film scripts, audiobooks, watching films, listening to music, televisions, vinyl and hi-fi.

Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

Never, ever stop writing, trying and promoting yourself for one moment, you have to want it more than the air in your lungs. And actually write things. Many aspiring writers when they ask professionals for advice are asked by the professionals what they have written and the answer is surprisingly and worryingly nothing or next to nothing. Also write for free to take advantage of opportunities, don’t be snobbish about payment, if it will make you miss an opportunity.

Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: John Johnson

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