Michael was born in Ottawa, Canada. He moved to Vancouver, Canada at age twelve. He graduated from the University of British Columbia as the first ever to receive the new BFA Acting program in 1983. He later helped to make the Vancouver Theatresport League one of the world's leading improvisational theatre companies. He won numerous awards and championships. He founded his own company in New Zealand named The Court Jesters, which won the World Teatresports Championship in Los Angeles in 1995. Michael also taught improv at the National Institute of Dramatic Arts in Sydney, Australia, where among his many students was Cate Blanchett. Around 1993, Michael began his television directing career. He has won eight international awards for directing television, most recently a BAFTA Award in 2005. In 1998 he moved to London, England and took up a prestigious directing position at the BBC. In 2001, he returned to Vancouver, Canada, where he continues to direct television and theatre, improvise with the Vancouver TheatreSports League, and act in film, television, and theatre.