For many actors, the decision to eventually try their hand at directing seems natural. Once you’ve been around so many sets, worked with so many different directors, and seen so many movies produced, it seems natural to think “hey, let me give this a shot.”
So it is with actor and audiobook narrator Jesse Bernstein. In addition to his on-screen roles over the years -- most notably in Yeardley (2010), Dog Lover’s Symphony (2006), and Death Tunnel (2005) – Bernstein has made a prolific career out of audiobook narrating. After narrating so many books, Bernstein decided recently to try his hand at writing a book of his own.
After thousands of hours of writing, re-writing, and editing, he produced "The Bee Sting Effect," a story written for middle school children about how a fateful meeting between a boy and a bee changed a city in a big way. We caught up with Bernstein recently and asked him about his book, his decision to get into writing and his work in audiobooks.
OV: So how did you end up deciding to write a book?
Bernstein: “It came up through narrating audio books. I wanted to challenge myself to put out my first title after all the books I’ve read -- both good and bad. I’ve narrated over 75 titles for audiobooks. I think it gave me a good sense of the landscape of young adult titles. Given the people I’ve met and the producers I work with regularly, I just felt like it would be the next natural step for me in the progression of my life.”
OV: Let’s talk a little bit about the book. Whose it aimed at?
Bernstein: “It’s funny because I wrote it as a young adult title. Then I had it edited, and my editor says it falls more into a middle grade category, which is slightly younger than the young adult category. It’s actually for middle school kids, which I think is great because there are very few good middle school titles out there.”
OV: Talk to us about the story. What’s going in the book? Whatever you feel comfortable sharing.
Bernstein: “My book is about a 13-year-old boy and a bee. They’re both main characters. So we go inside the life of the boy, and we go inside the life of the bee. And the chapters pretty much trade off from boy to bee, and bee to boy, until their worlds collide. The bee stings the boy, and that bee sting has a ripple effect through the city up to the election for city mayor. That’s why it’s called the bee sting effect – because that one bee sting has a ripple effect through the entire city. Sort of piggy backing on the butterfly effect.”
OV: Very cool. Any plans for future writing?
Bernstein: “It would be a dream if after I delivered this book a publisher decides that they really like it and that they want me to write another – or three more. I welcome that challenge.”
Bernstein’s future plans entail much more than writing, though. As he waits for "The Bee Sting Effect" to release by the end of this year, he’s as busy as ever narrating audiobooks and taking on movie roles. He plays a lead role in an upcoming SciFi Channel film entitled "CobraGator," a thriller that Bernstein describes as “a combination of Indiana Jones and Sharknado.”
“Doing the film was awesome,” Bernstein said. “It was a great experience. And you know, hopefully this leads to more camera roles.”
When asked about the several hats he wears in the entertainment business – actor, audiobook narrator and writer – Bernstein said the roles aren’t all that different. At their core, they’re just different forms of the same craft: storytelling.
“I come from a long line of storytellers,” he says. “That’s what I do. That’s what I love to do.”
To check out Bernstein’s work and stay in the loop with his book and movie releases, head over to JesseBernstein.tv.