April 17, 2006
Lester Prairie man appears on Desperate Housewives
By Linda Scherer
Most of Travis Grenke’s attention was focused on seeing Eva Longoria when he was introduced to Mark Moses on the set of “Desperate Housewives.” He never did get to meet her.
Grenke, a Lester Prairie native and graduate of Mayer Lutheran High School, was hired on a Thursday night to play a police officer on Friday morning. His job was to arrest the character, Paul, played by Mark Moses, in a parking garage, and then escort him to a SWAT van.
He was on the set for about six hours and probably did about eight takes of his scene with Mark. The episode aired March 12 and is titled, “There is No Other Way.”
Grenke is used to short-notice job offers and working with big-name celebrity actors. He has been on approximately 300 sets including: “CSI,” “CSI-NY,” “CSI-Miami,” “West Wing,” “Scrubs,” “How I Met Your Mother,” “NCIS,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Commander in Chief,” “7th Heaven,” “Las Vegas,” “House,” and “Boston Legal.”
The Monday after working on the set of “Desperate Housewives,” he was working on the TV show “Crossing Jordan.”
Before moving to LA, Grenke did a lot of research. He is doing his best to keep out of the “starving actor, working-as-a-waiter life.”
In Los Angeles, there are many casting offices for background work. Grenke has his photo submitted at one of the larger casting offices, and he also hired a phone calling service to call all of the agencies where he has submitted his headshot.
His main source of income comes from working on film/TV, music video, and commercial sets. Film sets have the big-name celebrity actors close to the camera, and Grenke performs behind, in the background. He has been doing background acting work for over a year.
Along with acting, Grenke is studying as much filmmaking as he can find time to read. Background work has taught him a lot about being on set, and he wants to learn the industry.
Religion is his way of keeping his sanity. He is currently finishing up a powerful evangelistic play with his non-denominational Bible-based church, where he plays a prison guard.
He is excited about the Christian film industry and feels that there are more and more of these movies being made on a daily basis with great story lines. He cannot wait to land his first speaking role.
Home for Grenke in Los Angeles is a house with four people, “two of us are clean, the other two are not so clean.” He has been in LA for a year and does not know where else he would live now, calling it a unique area where there are mountains, desert-type terrain, and the Pacific Ocean all within 40 minutes of each other.
Grenke did not just rush out to Los Angeles right out of high school.
He is a 2001 graduate of the University of Minnesota, Duluth with a bachelor of applied science degree in exercise science.
At the suggestion of his advisor/mentor on becoming a better personal trainer, he tried taking an acting class.
“The ‘acting bug’ hit me like a hard cold,” Grenke said.
After graduating college, he had a regular day job, but at night he would perform in church plays, community theater, and audition for any role he saw at any theater. “Driving an hour to a five-minute audition was done on more than one occasion after working all day,” he said.
The time finally came for his big move. He gave his brother a goodbye hug, told him he could have his Minnesota winter jacket, and he packed up his four-door Eagle Vision. He was on his way to Hollywood, March 7, 2005 at 7:30 p.m.
Grenke keeps in touch with his family in Minnesota. His mom, Lanette, lives in Glencoe, and his dad, Lyle, and Grandma Ester, also live in the Glencoe area. His two brothers, Tim and Terry, live in Silver Lake.
Although he sees celebrities on a daily basis and is not star struck, he likes calling home to say, “I am standing next to Adam Sandler, Lindsay Lohan, Heather Graham, Martin Sheen, Christian Slater, Beyonce, and Jamie Foxx.”
He considers himself a “midwestern man,” seeing things through different eyes then the Californians. Whatever Grenke atributes to his outlook on life, it certainly will work in his favor.
For a very young man still trying to succeed in a business that is very competitive, he shows a great sense of humor, and seems to be satisfied with the choices he has made so far.
He is very realistic about his future, commenting, “We may throw the dice, but the Lord determines how they fall.”