Interviews

EDWIN L. WILLIAMS II

Edwin L. Williams II is an award-winning Actor, Director, Writer and Cinematographer.
He has been a filmmaker for 9 years, with an Associate Degree in Performance Acting from KD Conservatory in Dallas, Texas. He was born in Seoul, South Korea, and currently filming out of Dallas, Texas.  Furthermore, he has directed and provided cinematography for over 10 projects ranging from book trailers, short films, webseries, feature films along with original short films. Likewise, he runs a small production company in Dallas, TX called Digital ELW Productions. His personal projects fly under the banner “a Seoul in the Cloud films” honoring his Korean heritage and his wife, best friend, and business partner Ilyssa Williams. Not only is he a filmmaker, but he also does photography work under Digital ELW Photography. Since 2016, he has been represented by Core Talent Agency.


Hi Edwin, nice to meet you and thanks for granting us this interview.


How was born your passion for the world of cinema?

I enjoyed movies and always watched the behind the scenes featurette as a kid. I was fascinated by how it was all put together. I dreamed of performing in front of the camera but didn’t think I could handle the behind the camera work. In college, I met a talented actor and content creator, Alfonso Davis III, who was the first to let me see first hand the process that goes into filmmaking. From creating the idea, camera work, directing, and editing, I got a crash course. I immediately went out and bought a camera, downloaded almost every editing software, and began pitching ideas to Alfonso. From that moment I have been driven to continue to get better.

What was your first movie?

My first movie/short that I directed was “Choices”. It was about a guy who gets out of jail, and he tries his best to follow the right path in life; however, the lingering shadows of his prior drug dealing lifestyle prevents him from reaching his true potential. Either way, he must make a choice between both worlds. With the help of my best friend and mentor Alfonso Davis, I was able to see if I had what it took to create a project. It had its challenges, but I’m grateful to experience them early on in my career so that I was better equipped to handle them. The film is fun to look back at to see how far I have come and how much further I still have to go on this journey.

What are, for you, the main difficulties to make an independent tv or web series?

The main difficulties are presenting an episodic journey good enough for people to invest their time to check out. In this age of streaming, where there are countless shows to binge watch at any given time, you have to come up with something that reaches an audience and really grabs their attention. Attention spans have dwindled so you have to give a web audience a reason to hang in there and check out the next scene.

What advice would you give an aspiring filmmaker?

Never be afraid to fail because when you “fail” you gain experience and lessons are learned. The ultimate “no no” is to not even try because that type of regret will forever haunt you for the rest of your life. Remember that this is a marathon and not a sprint.

Tell us about Back to 1.

“Back to 1” is a 4 episode web series about a man named Eric who has a lovely wife and works remotely, but he hates his dead-end job as a customer service representative for an insurance company. The monotonous lifestyle was killing him slowly until a moment alone while watching television inspired him to aim towards his dream which was making a movie. Eric does not know a thing about film-making; however, he gains support from his loyal co-worker and reluctant wife to bring his “dream” to life. The series illustrates the struggles and sacrifices that Eric will experience when he tries to work “against the grain” in order to fulfill his “purpose”.

What are the main ingredients to create a good tv or web series?

The writing aspect is crucial! I strongly believe in creating layered characters that are relatable. The characters have to be written in a way that makes people feel like they’re not alone or feel as if the character was somebody that they personally know  (i.e. family members, friends, or themselves). What attracts the audience to stick towards your web series or tv show is how much they feel connected to the story. If the show has a strong theme that can have people feel a certain way, then you have something special. To be honest, if the story or the characters does not resonate with the audience, then your show is doomed to fail.

What are your future projects?

I’m in the middle of filming a short film that addresses school bullying called “It Was a Great Day.” I’ve also filmed a pitch pilot for a tv series called “Chase N’ Jade” that has been getting good feedback from my audience. Hopefully it will lead to the right eyes to proceed to take it further. Also, I have two other short film projects scheduled for later this  year. This is all leading up to my first feature film that I am currently working on. The work never stops.

Any final thoughts at the end of this interview?

I’m absolutely grateful for this opportunity. I’m completely mind blown when I reflect on my journey from 2013 when I was at KD Conservatory to now as an award-winning film-maker. This interview wouldn’t be possible without the support from my wife Ilyssa Williams, my best friend Alfonso Davis, my mentors Linda K. Leonard and the late great Phyllis Cicero. I’ve really come a long way and can’t wait for what’s more to come in my long marathon. Most importantly, I look forward to providing you continuous updates about my accomplishments and whereabouts. Thank you again for this!


RFA