Eric R. Williams is an American screenwriter, professor, cinematic virtual reality director, and new media storyteller.[1][2][3] He is known for developing alternative narrative and documentary techniques that take advantage of digital technologies.[4][5]

Eric R. Williams
Williams in Flagstaff Arizona, 2021
Alma materColumbia University
Occupation(s)Screenwriter, professor and new media storyteller
EmployerOhio University
Notable workThe Triangle of Knowledge

Williams's narrative research emphasizes collaboration between storytellers and their audience.[2] While teaching at Ohio University, Williams began combining aspects of traditional film, theater, and literature with emerging communication technologies such as virtual reality and 360-degree video. In 2020, he and his colleagues wrote a book explaining their techniques, naming this new medium "virtual reality cinema" (or cine-VR).[6]

Early life edit

Williams graduated from Northwestern University in 1990 with a bachelor's degree in radio/television/film and a minor in education.[7] He earned his MFA in film from Columbia University, directing the feature film Snakes and Arrows as his thesis.[8] Williams chose Columbia so that he could study writing and producing from James Schamus, Richard Brick, David Shaber and Terry Southern.[9]

Career edit

Film and television edit

Williams' first feature film, Snakes and Arrows, opened the door for him to meet Peter Falk, who hired him to write a Columbo made-for-TV murder mystery for Universal Pictures / Universal Studios in 1998.[10] He later developed and co-produced a pilot for American Movie Classics called Don't Try This At Home.[11]

In the 2000s, Williams worked as a freelance screenwriter and was often hired to write adaptations.[12] Notably, he adapted Luis Alberto Urrea's anthology Across the Wire in 2003; Bill Littlefield's novel The Prospect in 2005; and the anthology Voices from the Heartland in 2008. Williams' work on Voices received the "Ohio Arts Council Award of Individual Excellence in Screenwriting" in 2009.[13] These scripts are shared as examples in his book Screen Adaptation: Beyond the Basics.

By 2010, Williams co-directed and co-produced two documentary television series (Redefining Appalachia and Guyana Pepperpot) as well as the documentary Breaking News (featuring Dianne Rehm, Walter Cronkite and Terry Anderson).[14]

Over the course of ten years as a professor, Williams developed three unique concepts for film and television, publishing two books on the topics:[9][15]

  1. Screenwriters taxonomy
  2. Kortlander-Williams Theme Matrix
  3. Triangle of knowledge

Academic career edit

After working as a screenwriter, director and producer for eight years, Williams joined the faculty of Ohio University's Scripps College of Communication in 2005.[16] In addition to a variety of domestic media projects, Williams used his faculty position to work on international media projects in Ukraine, Guyana and Ecuador.[17][18] [19]

Williams currently develops virtual reality cinema techniques at Ohio University's Game Research and Immersive Design (GRID) Lab, where he continues to collaborate on a wide variety of non-fiction and narrative-based projects.[20][21]

Cinematic virtual reality edit

Williams began writing, directing and producing virtual reality experiences at Ohio University's Game Research and Immersive Design Lab in 2016.[22] Williams' first narrative virtual reality project was Re:Disappearing, which he wrote and directed that same year.[11]

In collaboration with cinematographer/editor Matt Love and producer/director Carrie Love, Williams developed 360-degree video into a new medium called they deemed cinematic virtual reality (or cine-VR, for short).[6] They used cine-VR techniques on the Medicaid Educational Simulation Project.[23] Their cine-VR approach was said to improve cultural self-efficacy in healthcare providers.[24] After three years of research at Ohio University's Game Research and Immersive Design Lab, Williams and the Loves subsequently wrote the book Virtual Reality Cinema: Narrative Tips and Techniques identifying at least four new concepts for telling stories using cine-VR:[6]

  1. Persona Gap
  2. Story Engagement Matrix
  3. Directorial Control vs Audience Agency
  4. Blocking, Framing and Editing unique to cine-VR

The authors explain that cine-VR synthesizes concepts from film, theater, literature, virtual reality and video games.[6] Between 2020 and 2021, Williams wrote and/or directed more than half a dozen cine-VR pieces using these techniques, including For the Love of God and Lost Broken Alone.[14] The latter was a finalist for "Best Use of Sound & Music in XR" at the 2020 Real World XR Awards.[25]  Music for the piece was provided by Moby; Jordan Herron was the immersive sound designer.[26] In 2021, For the Love of God won the "Best Virtual Reality Award" in the New York Nil Gallery International Media Festival and "First Place: Outstanding Virtual Reality Film" in the Short Sweet Film Festival.[27][28]

Williams co-developed the concept of "PRE-ality" (a portmanteau of "prepare" and "reality") while working with emergency room doctors and physical therapists,[20][21] with whom he worked in Columbus, Ohio and San Francisco, California to implement a training experience for medical students.[29] Williams furthered this research in collaboration with Dr. Petra Williams, Northern Arizona University professor of Physical Therapy, and subsequently introduced the concept of PRE-ality at the Virtual Reality and Healthcare Symposium in Washington, D.C. in 2017.[5][21]

PRE-ality uses virtual reality cinema to evoke a sense of déjà vu in the viewer to better prepare them for a reality they have yet to experience.[5] This discovery led to the implementation of a virtual reality training experience for healthcare education.[30]

Works edit

Williams authored three books: Virtual Reality Cinema (Routledge, 2021 with Matt and Carrie Love), Screen Adaptation (Focal Press, 2017), and The Screenwriters Taxonomy (Routledge, 2017), and edited two others, The Power of Virtual Reality Cinema for Healthcare Training (Routledge, 2021, with John Bowditch) and Media and the Creative Process (Cognella, 2014, with Beth Novak). Williams also wrote and directed for a variety of traditional and new media platforms:[11][14][31]

Cine-VR edit

  1. Jumper on High Plains Bridge (OPOTA, 2024) – co-writer / director
  2. Oak Street: Domestic in Progress (OPOTA, 2024) – co-writer / director
  3. Pink Slip Issued on Runway Drive (OPOTA, 2024) – co-writer / director
  4. Shots Fired at CW High (OPOTA, 2024) – co-writer / director
  5. Thieves in Harding Park (OPOTA, 2024) – co-writer / director
  6. Wild Bill's Brawl in Indian Hills (OPOTA, 2024) – co-writer / director
  7. The Chet Story (GRID Lab, 2021) – writer / director
  8. The Dion Story (GRID Lab, 2021) – writer / director
  9. For the Love of God (GRID Lab, 2021) – director
  10. He Loves Me (not) (GRID Lab, 2021) – director
  11. Moving in Moving On (GRID Lab, 2021) – director
  12. Diabetes in Appalachia (GRID Lab, 2020) – co-writer / co-director
  13. Living with Addiction (GRID Lab, 2020) – co-writer / associate producer
  14. Lost Broken Alone (GRID Lab, 2020) – writer / director
  15. Re: Disappearing (GRID Lab, 2016) – writer / director

Film and television edit

  1. Imagining Tomorrow's Entertainment (Wondrium, 2023) – head writer / host
  2. Guyana Pepperpot (Blue Arm Productions, 2010) – series producer / segment director
  3. Breaking News (Blue Arm Productions, 2009) – writer / director
  4. Redefining Appalachia (WOUB-TV, 2009) – series producer
  5. Don't Try This at Home [TV pilot] (American Movie Classics, 2002) – creator / co-producer
  6. Colombo and the Curse of Sorcery Circus [un-produced]  (Universal Studios, 1998) – writer
  7. Snakes & Arrows (Blue Arm Productions, 1996) – co-writer / director

Audio Series edit

  1. TV's New Golden Age (Audible Original, 2021) – writer / host
  2. How to Appreciate Great Movies (Audible, 2020) – writer / host
  3. Falling in Love with Romance Films (Audible Original, 2019) – writer / host
  4. How to View and Appreciate Great Movies (Great Courses, 2018) – writer / host

Books edit

  1. The Power of Virtual Reality Cinema for Healthcare Training (Routledge, 2021)
  2. Virtual Reality Cinema: Tips and Techniques (Routledge, 2021)
  3. Screen Adaptation (Focal Press, 2017)
  4. The Screenwriters Taxonomy (Routledge, 2017)
  5. Media and the Creative Process (Cognella, 2014)

References edit

  1. ^ Dancyger, Ken (2019). Storytelling for Film and Television : From First Word to Last Frame. Milton: Routledge. pp. (back cover). ISBN 978-1-351-24597-5. OCLC 1100010668.
  2. ^ a b Johnson, Claudia; Stevens, Matt (2016). Script partners : how to succeed at co-writing for film & TV (Second ed.). New York: Routledge. pp. 21–23. ISBN 978-1-317-41792-7. OCLC 945975333.
  3. ^ Doyle, Céilí. "Virtual reality police training provides new resource for rural Ohio". The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved 2021-09-08.
  4. ^ Bucher, John K. (2017). Storytelling for virtual reality : methods and principles for crafting immersive narratives. New York, NY: Routledge. pp. viii–ix. ISBN 978-1-138-62965-3. OCLC 975466706.
  5. ^ a b c Binstock, Yoni. (2018). What is Virtual Reality?: Everything You Wanted to Know Featuring Exclusive Interviews With the Leaders of the VR Industry. (pages 46-50) Amazon/Kindle.
  6. ^ a b c d Williams, Eric R. (2021). Virtual reality cinema : narrative tips and techniques. Carrie Love, Matt Love, Adonis Durado. Abingdon, Oxon. ISBN 978-1-003-02828-4. OCLC 1231955866.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  7. ^ Media and the creative process. Eric R. Williams, Beth Novak. [United States]. 2014. ISBN 978-1-62661-215-0. OCLC 897141227.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link) CS1 maint: others (link)
  8. ^ Hsu, Melinda (March 2, 1998). "DIY Filmmaker: Eric Williams' 'Snakes & Arrows'". Film Threat Magazine.
  9. ^ a b Williams, Eric R. (2017). The Screenwriters Taxonomy : a Roadmap to Collaborative Storytelling. New York, NY: Routledge. ISBN 978-1-315-10864-3. OCLC 993983488.
  10. ^ Williams, Eric R. (2021). How to View and Appreciate Great Movies. The Great Courses / Audible. pp. Episode #6.
  11. ^ a b c "Eric R. Williams". IMDb. Retrieved 2024-01-21.
  12. ^ Davis, Georgia (February 20, 2019). ""Based on a True Story: Filmmakers Find Ways to Tell People's Stories in Three Hours or Less"". The Athens Post. Retrieved September 1, 2021.
  13. ^ Saxbe, Susan (2009). "Ohio Arts Council - 2008/2009 Biennial Report (page 30)".
  14. ^ a b c IMDB. "Writer/Director Eric R. Williams". Independent Movie Database. Retrieved January 21, 2024.
  15. ^ Williams, Eric R. (2017). Screen Adaptation : Beyond the Basics. New York: Focal Press. ISBN 978-1-315-66941-0. OCLC 986993829.
  16. ^ Williams, Eric R. (2021). TV's New Golden Age. Audible Original. pp. Episode #1.
  17. ^ Smedley, Arian (August 11, 2005). "Ukrainian representatives visit Ohio University". International Office of the National University of Kiev-Mohyla Academy Graduate School of Journalism. Retrieved September 12, 2020.
  18. ^ "The makings of a good documentary". Guyana Chronicle. Retrieved 2021-09-07.
  19. ^ Yepez-Reyes, Veronica. "Service-Learning Through Immersive Technologies in Ecuador". Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement. June, 2021 – via Open Journals at the University of Georgia Libraries.
  20. ^ a b Goldberg, Duncan, and Josh Gregory. (April 6, 2018). "OU Pioneering New Uses of Virtual Reality". WOUB Public Media. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
  21. ^ a b c NAU News (June 5, 2017). "A 360-Degree Lifesaving View: NAU Professor Brings Actual Health Care Situations to Virtual Reality". Northern Arizona University. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
  22. ^ Berlin, Claire (March 17, 2016). "Scripps College of Communication Awarded $878,000 for Immersive Media Initiative". WOUB Public Media. Retrieved September 12, 2020.
  23. ^ OHIO News staff reporter (June 19, 2019). "Interdisciplinary team creates virtual reality series to train health care providers in Appalachia". Ohio University News. Retrieved September 12, 2020.
  24. ^ Beverly, Elizabeth (August 20, 2020). "Virtual Reality Improves Healthcare Providers' and Administrators' Cultural Self-Efficacy and Diabetes Attitudes in Appalachian Ohio". Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR) – via JMIR Publications.
  25. ^ "2020 Finalists". Real World XR. Retrieved 2021-09-08.
  26. ^ Lost Broken Alone (Short 2020) - IMDb, retrieved 2021-09-08
  27. ^ "The Winners of New York Nil Gallery – 2021". Nil Production. 2021-02-01. Retrieved 2021-09-08.
  28. ^ "2021 Short. Sweet. Film Fest. Awards". Short. Sweet. Film Fest. 2021-03-01. Retrieved 2021-09-08.
  29. ^ Patel, Devika; Sammann, A. (2020). "Developing Virtual Reality Trauma Training Experiences Using 360-Degree Video". Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR). 22 (12).
  30. ^ Viviano, Joanne (March 26, 2017). "Ohio Doctors Employ Virtual Reality to Train for Trauma Care". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved September 12, 2020.
  31. ^ Amazon Author Bio (2020). "Books By Eric R. Williams". {{cite web}}: |last= has generic name (help)

External links edit

  1. Eric R. Williams at IMDb  1061641