Michael Klug grew up in beautiful Lead/Deadwood, South Dakota, smack-dab in the middle of the glorious Black Hills... just a hop, skip and a jump from Mt. Rushmore. Today he's a screenwriter, actor, filmmaker and film critic.
His first acting role (in the third grade) came about when Missoula Children's Theatre arrived in town. He was a "Candlestick" in Pinnochio, and then a year later, a munchkin in another Missoula production -- this time, The Wizard of Oz.
He began his writing career with his first short story "House of the Dead" at the tender age of 10. In eighth grade he co-wrote, co-produced and co-directed (as well as starred as "Freddy") in a stage play entitled A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Tribute, with his best friend Eric.
Many acting roles in high school followed, including a senior year performance as Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. He won 3 Best Actor honors; and a "Most Dedicated" Drama Club award while there. Michael and Eric also dabbled in filmmaking at this time, creating many innovative, no-budget horror shorts.
In high school, his writing continued (mostly horror fare), including poetry, short stories, A Nightmare on Elm Street fan fiction and an entertaining series of stories called "George, Frank & Liza", which is currently on the back burner for a screenplay translation.
He studied theatre in college at Minnesota State University; Moorhead, focusing his studies on acting and directing. While there, he was nominated 3 times for the prestigious Irene Ryan / American College Theatre Festival scholarship award; for his acting work in Galileo, Picnic and As You Like It. His nomination as Touchstone in As You Like It led him to a regional win, and onto the Kennedy Center, representing the 8-state Region 5; where he competed against only 12 other undergrads and graduate students from across the US. His favorite roles in college include the title role in Tartuffe, Horst in Bent, Mary Sunshine in Chicago, Hennessey/The Captain in Dames at Sea and The Writer in The Good Doctor.
His writing was also still moving along admirably during his college days -- including a play-writing course (where his one act, Sin was completed), and a creative writing course where many more poems and shorts found the light of day. Following two summers of stock with the Straw Hat Players (MSUM's summer theatre), he graduated and headed off into the real world.
His return home to South Dakota led him to some substitute teaching, a bit of radio DJ-ing and work as an assistant director for a production of Harvey at his high school alma mater.
He then found work with The National Theatre for Children/Small Change; a touring children's theatre out of Minneapolis. He toured as "Louie the Lightning Bug" for 5 months -- all throughout Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana -- entertaining and teaching kids about electric safety.
A subsequent move to Minneapolis found him on-stage opposite Sarah Jane Olson in a stage production of A Fair Country -- just a short time before her discovery and subsequent arrest by the FBI.
A move to Chicago found a great working relationship with The Griffin Theatre, appearing in over a half dozen of their productions; including the world premieres of The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle, Stardust and Sleeping Ugly: The Musical. There was also additional stage work with the Chicago Park District, Hi-Volt Theatre and The Raven Theatre.
He also appeared in several short films and two features during his 10 year stay in Chicago. Acting in film inspired him to push forward on his own first screenplays. His first feature-length spec was a zombie film called Sid's Apple.
In addition, his work (both in front of and behind the camera -- officially billed as "Assistant to the DP") on the feature HOUSE OF BLACK WINGS (from Chicago's Sword & Cloak Productions), inspired him to write and direct his first two short films; under the newly formed not my mess films. FRENCH TOAST (the first film) is complete. The second piece -- READY TO GO -- was sadly never completed.
Michael relocated to Hollywood, California in 2008, ushering in a particularly fruitful time creatively.
In between several "survival/day jobs", he worked as an assistant director on a web-series as well as a short film and held several other crew positions on various indie projects. He also acted occasionally, when the opportunity arose.
On the writing front, screenwriting has taken center stage in his creative endeavors. Over the past decade, he's received 24 accolades from various film festivals and script competitions.
In April of 2019, he completed work on his 10th feature spec script, Mom Died. That script was named the WINNER in the Horror Genre at the 2019 Creative Screenwriting Unique Voices competition.
His next highest contest placement came via the 2016 Screamfest Film Festival, where his feature spec Spider Eaters placed in the Top Five Finalists.
On that same screen-writing note, his 8th feature spec script, The Costume People -- was optioned in early 2018. Also finding completion in 2018, the first in (hopefully) several steps for a yet-to-be-announced "write-for-hire" screenwriting project. And in mid-2019, he was hired by a production company to pen a feature length script. That contract is complete, and he excitedly awaits potential news of the film's production.
In addition, he's completed a one-hour pilot drama spec and many short spec scripts. He's also begun work on his first two novels, Scratcher and Island Hunters.
On the acting side of things, in 2016 Michael returned to the live stage after a 10 year absence, with 2 shows at The Roxy Regional Theatre in Clarksville, TN. He appeared in a World Premiere adaptation of The Magnificent Ambersons and took on the role of Gremio in a production of The Taming of the Shrew. (side note: this fun experience was the inspiration for his feature screenplay, The Costume People).
Upon his return to Los Angeles following his time at The Roxy, he once again began auditioning for new roles, and by the end of 2016, had appeared as a defendant on the syndicated television court show "Justice for All with Judge Cristina Perez", and acted in three short films.
His latest acting project, a lead role in Monte Light's feature film debut, Space (shot in late 2018) was released in March of 2020, via distribution company, Random Media.
He can also now proudly tout his first physically published piece (an essay on the horror film Shock Waves for the collection Hidden Horror: A Celebration of 101 Underrated and Overlooked Fright Flicks).
Following the piece in Hidden Horror -- in 2014, he landed a gig as a film critic and contributing writer for the online horror source Horror Freak News -- reviewing films, covering red carpet events, conducting interviews, doing set visits and attending film festivals. During this journalism adventure, he clocked in close to 400 movie reviews and feature articles. As of late 2018 (over four years writing reviews), Michael "soft retired" from journalism/film criticism, to focus more fully on screenwriting. He briefly returned to Horror Freak News in the fall of 2019 to cover Screamfest for his sixth consecutive year, and still occasionally pens a review for Tom Holland's Terror Time.
In mid-2018, his second physically published piece -- an essay on his favorite film (George A. Romero's Day of the Dead) -- was released as part of the collection, My Favorite Horror Movie from editor Christian Ackerman. Michael's write-up sat alongside essays from such horror-industry luminaries as Michael Gingold, Tony Timpone and Cerina Vincent.
In June of 2019, Michael launched a new business, Klugula Screenplay Consulting, offering feature and short screenplay services to screenwriters.
In the first half of 2020, Michael completed work on his 11th (Rope-A-Dope -- written with Motown Maurice) and 12th (Trip) feature spec scripts. Trip has thus far been submitted to 13 film festivals / competitions. He also began a web-series entitled Klugula Reads His Klassics, where he shares selections from his 35-year writing history - poetry and short stories all the way back from age 10.
As 2020 moves into its second half, Michael finds himself working on his 13th (Boys), 14th (Bear) and 15th (ESP -- being written with long-time friend Scott Harris) feature spec screenplays and, as referenced above, his first two novels (Island Hunters and Scratcher). He's also in post-production on a self-produced short film he directed, entitled Chair, based on his high-school penned short story "The Chair",
And on the Mom Died front, Michael has partnered with award-winning filmmaker Audrey Cummings to further develop the piece for potential production.