By Ivan Raconteur
LOS ANGELES, CA Some area residents who tuned in to the “Conveyor Belt of Love” on ABC recently noticed a familiar face.
Among the 30 bachelors on the show was Lester Prairie native Travis Grenke.
Grenke is a 1996 Mayer Lutheran graduate who now lives in Los Angeles, pursuing an acting career.
“Conveyor Belt of Love” was a one-hour special in which 30 men traveled down a conveyor belt past five women.
The show can be viewed online at http://www.hulu.com/watch/118548/conveyor-belt-of-love.
The men had 60 seconds to impress the women.
If a women was interested in one of the candidates, that man stepped aside and waited as the rest of the men went by. The women could swap their man as many times as they wanted.
After all 30 men made it through the Conveyor Belt of Love, each woman embarked on a date with her final choice.
One of the women picked Grenke, and he got to stand on her platform for awhile. “Unfortunately, she swapped me for a bad boy,” Grenke said.
“I’m pro abstinence, so I’m glad I got to say that on the show, but unfortunately, the show was edited to show my worst moments,” Grenke laughed. “But it is pretty entertaining.”
He said it would have been fun to go on a one-on-one date as the result of the show, but he has plenty of other projects to keep him busy.
The filming of “Conveyor Belt” took eight hours and was completed in one day.
This was just one of many projects on which Grenke has been working.
He got the call for “Conveyor Belt” based on a submission tape he had made for another project.
This is common in the business, Grenke explained. He said one never knows where things will lead, or what will lead to the next project.
“When someone calls, you need to think on the spot,” Grenke said.
He explained that some of the casting people who call talk as if they were old friends of his, while he might barely remember auditioning for the project they are calling about.
There is no shortage of variety in the projects he has landed.
Last week, he worked in a non-speaking role as a lab tech on the set of CSI on Monday, and on Wednesday, he worked on a movie set.
The movie is called MacGruber (More information can be found at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MacGruber). It is a comedy based on a recurring sketch on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” that is a parody of the 1985-1992 series, “MacGyver.” The cast of the movie includes many Saturday Night Live cast members and it is expected to be released in April.
The filming included a variety of “out-takes” and funny shots, the kind that are often shown at the end of a movie, Grenke said.
“That was definitely a fun day on the set,” Grenke said.
He added that he hung out with Ryan Phillippe (“I Know What You Did Last Summer,” “Cruel Intentions,” “Flags of our Fathers”) while on the set.
“You never know who you are going to meet,” Grenke said.
While on the MacGruber set, he worked with four professional wrestlers.
One of them, according to Grenke, was about six feet eight inches tall, and just as wide.
“He stood in front of me, and I told him, hey, you are going to have to move. You are blocking my view of the camera,” Grenke said.
The wrestler didn’t know what to make of it at first, but soon figured out that Grenke was joking.
“Working on “CSI” was kind of cool, being around Laurence Fishburne (“Matrix,” “21,” “Mystic River”) Grenke commented.
He said he enjoys the variety his new career provides.
“You can be working on a serious set one day, and in a wedding dance line the next. You have different co-workers every day, and each day is a new adventure.”
Grenke said the business involves a lot of time standing around, mingling with other actors who all have similar experiences and the same kinds of stories to tell.
Before leaving Minnesota, Grenke worked full-time in a customer service job, and went to interviews two or three times each week, often driving an hour for a five-minute interview.
“That was the best part of my day,” Grenke said, explaining that the interviews left him energized.
“I was bitten by the acting bug,” Grenke said. He realized he needed to go to Los Angeles to pursue his dream.
In addition to acting, Grenke hopes to make his own movies.
“I recently made a 10-minute YouTube video, and I learned a lot,” Grenke said.
He has also completed internships, including one with a Christian movie group, as he expands his skills and learns the craft.
His faith has always been an important part of his life, and the church he attends in Los Angeles includes many people who work in the movie industry.
Grenke is in the process of forming his team to produce a movie.
“I’ve got a writer and a camera guy and a sound guy,” Grenke said. “I remember faces and names of people I work with. You can’t be a one-man show if you are going to make a movie.”
The focus of his films will incorporate his faith and his background as a personal trainer (he earned a bachelor’s degree in exercise science from the University of Minnesota - Duluth in 2001).
“I am called to make inspirational films,” Grenke said.
He explained that his goal is to make faith-based movies with an inspirational message.
One subject that he is considering involves his second-cousin, who was injured by an IED in Iraq.
Grenke has worked on hundreds of sets for shows including “CSI,” “West Wing,” “Scrubs,” “How I Met Your Mother,” “NCIS,” “Desperate Housewives,” “7th Heaven,” “House,” and “Boston Legal.”
Grenke is thoroughly enjoying the life he has chosen.
Grenke still has connections to the area. His mother, Lanette Grenke, and his father, Lyle Grenke, both live in the Glencoe area.
“I love Minnesota, but for now, California is my home,” Grenke said. “The warm weather, the palm trees, the beaches, the lifestyle, this is where I want to be.”