Eric R. Williams

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Eric R. Williams
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Born1968; age 52
Alma materNorthwestern University and Columbia University
OccupationProfessor, Screenwriter and New Media Storyteller
EmployerOhio University
Notable work
The Screenwriters Taxonomy Virtual Reality Cinema

Eric R. Williams is a noted screenwriter, academic and virtual reality cinema director.[1] [2] Williams has written four books and two audiobooks on the subjects of screenwriting, film appreciation and new media storytelling.[3]

  • 2014 - Media and the Creative Process [4]
  • 2017 - Screen Adaptation: Beyond the Basics [5]
  • 2017 - The Screenwriters Taxonomy [6]
  • 2018 - How to View and Appreciate Great Movies [7]
  • 2019 - Falling in Love with Romance Films [8]
  • 2021 - Virtual Reality Cinema: Narrative Tips and Techniques [9]

Education and Career

Williams earned his MFA in Film from Columbia University in 1997, directing the feature film Snakes and Arrows as his thesis.[10]  He chose Columbia University so that he could study writing and producing from James Schamus, Richard Brick, David Shaber and Terry Southern.[6] Snakes & Arrows opened the door for him to meet Peter Falk, who hired Williams to write a Columbo (character)|Columbo made-for-tv murder mystery for Universal Pictures|Universal Studios in 1998.[7]

Williams studies the creative process of film adaptations and writes screenplay adaptations.[11] 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. [5] Williams' work on Voices received the "Ohio Arts Council Award of Individual Excellence in Screenwriting" in 2009.[12] These screenplays are shared as examples in his book Screen Adaptation: Beyond the Basics.[5]

In 2008, Williams received an Emmy Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for his interactive story design work with WOUB Public Media.[13] Williams continued his relationship with WOUB between 2009-2010, co-producing three documentary projects [14]:

  • Breaking News: the Collision of Journalism and Consumerism in a Democracy (feature documentary)
  • Redefining Appalachia (television series)
  • Guyana Pepperpot (television series)

Williams edited Breaking News in 2009. [15] However, a majority of the documentary was shot between 2005 - 2008 while Williams taught media production as part of an international project in Kiev|Kiev, Ukraine following the Orange Revolution.[16] Guyana Pepperpot was funded by the US Agency for International Development (United States Agency for International Development|USAID) and produced in Guyana under Williams' direction.[17]

Williams began writing and producing virtual reality experiences at Ohio University's Game Research and Immersive Design Lab in 2016.[18] As one of his first non-fiction projects, Williams worked with emergency room doctors to implement a first-of-its-kind VR cinema training experience for medical students.[19] Williams' research introduced the concept of PRE-ality to medical education.[2]  Williams' first narrative virtual reality project was Re:Disappearing. [14] Williams co-directed a feature length educational VR project with Carrie Love and Josh Crook in 2017.[20]

Notable Work

Williams developed the Screenwriters Taxonomy over the course of ten years and eventually published his work 2017.[6] As he explains in the book: "The taxonomy is a process for creative storytellers (writers, producers, directors) to recognize, discuss and reinvent storytelling paradigms that have evolved over the decades." Williams' system of organizing fictional narrative films is based on the Taxonomy of All Living Things.[5] The taxonomy provides a template for discussing narrative feature films using seven categories:

  1. Film Type
  2. Super-Genre
  3. Macro-Genre
  4. Micro-Genre
  5. Voice
  6. Pathway
  7. Point of View

In 2017, Williams co-directed the Medicaid Educational Simulation Project with Carrie Love and Josh Crook. [20] Their narrative virtual reality project successfully improved cultural self-efficacy in healthcare providers.[21] After three years of research at Ohio University's Game Research and Immersive Design Lab, Williams and Love subsequently wrote a book with cinematographer Matt Love identifying at least four new concepts for telling stories using virtual reality cinema (also known as "cine-VR"): [9]

  1. Persona Gap
  2. Pre-ality and Pre-Emotion
  3. Story Engagement Matrix
  4. Directorial Control vs Audience Agency


  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. 2.0 2.1 Binstock, Y. (2018). What is Virtual Reality?: Everything You Wanted to Know Featuring Exclusive Interviews With the Leaders of the VR Industry. Amazon/Kindle. Retrieved June 6, 2020, from
  3. Amazon Author Bio (2020). ""Books By Eric R. Williams"". Retrieved September 12, 2020. {{cite web}}: |last= has generic name (help)CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. Williams, Eric R., Novak, Beth. (2014). Media and the creative process. [United States]: Cognella Academic Publishing. ISBN 978-1-62661-215-0. OCLC 897141227.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Williams, Eric R. (2017). Screen Adaptation : Beyond the Basics. New York: Focal Press. ISBN 978-1-315-66941-0. OCLC 986993829.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Williams, Eric R. (2017). The Screenwriters Taxonomy : a Roadmap to Collaborative Storytelling. New York, NY: Routledge. ISBN 978-1-315-10864-3. OCLC 993983488.
  7. 7.0 7.1 "How to View and Appreciate Great Movies". 2018. Retrieved 2020-06-19.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. Williams, Eric. Falling in Love with Romance Movies. Audible Original. The Great Courses, 2019.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Williams, Eric R.. Love, Carrie. Love, Matt. (2021). Virtual Reality Cinema : Narrative Tips and techniques. [S.l.]: Routledge. ISBN 0-367-46340-7. OCLC 1193121571.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: date and year (link) CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  10. Hsu, Melinda (March 2, 1998). "DIY Filmmaker: Eric Williams' 'Snakes & Arrows'". Film Threat Magazine.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. 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 12, 2020.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  12. Saxbe, Susan (December 2009). "Ohio Arts Council - 2008/2009 Biennial Report".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  13. WOUB Public Media (August 17, 2008). "WOUB's Interactive Web Site Wins Emmy Award". Ohio Valley Emmy® Focus.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  14. 14.0 14.1 "Writer/Director Eric R. Williams on IMDB". Independent Movie Database. Retrieved September 12, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  15. "Grassroot Journalist - Breaking News". Grassroot Journalist. April 3, 2015.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  16. 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.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  17. Staff Reporter for the Guyana Chronicle (August 15, 2010). "The Makings of a Good Documentary". Guyana Chronicle. Retrieved September 12, 2020.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  18. Berlin, Claire (March 17, 2016). "Scripps College of Communication Awarded $878,000 for 'Immersive Media Initiative". WOUB Public Media. Retrieved September 12, 2020.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  19. Viviano, Joanne (March 26, 2017). "Ohio Doctors Employ Virtual Reality to Train for Trauma Care". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved September 12, 2020.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  20. 20.0 20.1 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.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  21. 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.

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