Eric R. Williams

Eric R. Williams is a professor and new media storyteller.[1][2] He is known for developing alternative ways to conceptualize and practice narrative and documentary techniques in the modern digital age.[3][4]

Williams co-developed the concept of PRE-ality while working with emergency room doctors and physical therapists.[5][6] PRE-ality (a portmanteau combining “prepare” and “reality”) uses virtual reality cinema to evoke an erroneous sense of déjà vu in the viewer to better prepare them for a reality they have yet to visit.[4] This discovery led to the implementation of a first-of-its-kind virtual reality training experience for healthcare education.[7]

Williams' narrative research emphasizes collaboration between storytellers and their audience.[2] Williams developed two unique concepts – the triangle of knowledge and the screenwriters taxonomy – over the course of ten years, publishing books about both in 2017.[8][9] The following year, Williams co-wrote and co-directed a feature-length narrative virtual reality project.[10] The project has since been proven to increase cultural self-efficacy in the audience.[11] Williams subsequently co-wrote a book explaining ways to use virtual reality cinema (cine-VR) to engage and influence the audience.[12]

Williams earned his MFA in Film from Columbia University, directing the feature film Snakes and Arrows as his thesis.[13] He later wrote a Columbo made-for-TV movie for Universal Studios and developed a pilot program for American Movie Classics called Don’t Try This At Home.[14] By 2010, Williams had 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]

Starting in 2016, Williams began developing his virtual reality cinema techniques working at Ohio University’s Game Research and Immersive Design (GRID) Lab, where he continues to collaborate on a wide variety to non-fiction and narrative-based projects.[5][6][15]

Williams has written four books and three audiobooks on both traditional and new media storytelling:[16]