Luke Kalteux ’06, of Sherman Oaks, Calif., started as a promising screenwriter at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. Family, friends, co-workers and colleagues now watch Kalteux’s work on the big screen as his career in the television and film industry takes off.
Kalteux’s early success and promise in his career has led him to be one of the recipients of the 2014 UW Oshkosh Alumni Association Outstanding Young Alumni Award winners.
As a radio-TV-film student, Kalteux dove into all things media-related as an undergraduate. He was the vice president of Film Society in 2004 and became the president in 2005. He also was the National Broadcasting Society (NBS) treasurer and then the alumni coordinator. Kalteux also was involved in Titan TV and was a radio-TV-film teaching assistant.
While he enjoyed working on the airwaves, Kalteux also was a fan of the stage where he participated as a UWO theatre actor. He participated in many productions, including Fuddy Meers, Romeo and Juliet, The Foreigner and The Visit.
Kalteux has received many awards for short films that he produced. His short film, Passed, was awarded Best Film at UWO’s Films on the Fox Film Festival in 2006. It also was selected for the Wisconsin International Film Festival, won the National Broadcasting Society Award for Best Screenplay for Film or Video and for Best Film or Video in 2006.
“Thanks to a UWO alumnus and very good friend who had established lighting contacts, I was quickly educated on what a professional life on set entailed,” he said.
Kalteux worked on independent short films, feature films, music videos and commercials for a year as he gained knowledge in set lighting and the entertainment industry. He went on to become a member of the IATSE 728 union for set lighting technicians. He then was able to work on more prominent productions with larger budgets.
“I fell in with a supportive group of set lighting technicians and a director of photography who hired me on many shows between 2008 and 2012,” Kalteux said.
He had the opportunity to work on movies and television shows, including I Love You, Man starring Paul Rudd, The Hangover, Due Date and episodes of American Horror Story.
“Hours were long in entertainment production, often ranging from 60 to 80 hours a week, and I did my best to balance a lighting career with a passion for my field of choice—television writing,” Kalteux said.
In 2009, Kalteux won a screenplay competition and, with the help of a professional writer and mentor, was referred to a talent agency. “This began a three-year period of meetings with television networks and network executives, meant to expose my name and my material to industry professionals in TV development,” he explained.
In 2010, Kalteux got the chance to assist in the creation and development of his first TV show, and then pitch it to five major cable networks. Although the show didn’t take off, he gained valuable experience in the industry and continued to write and develop his own concepts.
In 2012, Kalteux was offered the position of staff writer for the STARZ network show Incursion, his first job on a television writing staff. He completed his last set lighting job for Iron Man 3 and immediately went to work on Incursion, where he helped develop eight original episodes and wrote the fourth episode.
“It’s very difficult landing a writing job in Hollywood, and it took many long, character-building years of thick skin, crossed fingers and the support of others to get me to this point in my career,” Kalteux said. “It was such a relief getting that first job.”
He no longer had to balance two jobs, but could focus on his true passion: screenwriting. Kalteux’s early success as a screenwriter in the entertainment industry was recognized by his Incursion co-worker Kira Snyder.
“It’s exceedingly difficult to get a toehold in the entertainment industry, and Luke has done so with remarkable, early success,” Snyder said. “Landing your first job as a writer is especially tough. Breaking in after being a full-time TV and movie lighting technician while writing extensively on the side, as Luke has done, exhibits the level of difficulty of a double black diamond ski run.”
After his time working on Incursion, Kalteux was almost immediately offered the story editor position on a new, unreleased Netflix series.
Kalteux’s quick growth in the LA entertainment industry has been a product of hard work, late nights and outstanding skill. According to writer, director and producer Cameron Welsh, Kalteux’s work ethic has set the bar high for other people trying to make it in the industry.
“As a show-runner, I have been involved in employing many people and there are a lot of considerations to be made before making final decisions,” Welsh said. “These days, it’s simple – I ask myself one question: Can they do what Kalteux can do? The answer is invariably ‘no,’ but given the current ethical and moral opposition to human cloning, I find myself forced to settle for second best, because there is only one Luke Kalteux.”
Reflecting back on his time at UWO, it is easy for Kalteux to see where the inspiration for his success came from: Walking the UWO campus.
“I have many fond memories walking the campus between classes and clubs as I talked with friends and classmates about current projects and future plans,” Kalteux said. “It’s the well-walked space between buildings that I picture most clearly when I think back to my time at Oshkosh. I did a lot of important thinking and made many big decisions regarding my life and career walking UWO’s campus.”
Kalteux and nine other award winners will be recognized at the Alumni Awards Celebration on Friday, Oct. 17, during Homecoming Weekend.
For more information about the alumni awards dinner, please contact the Alumni Relations office at (920) 424-3449 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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