(written from a Production point of view)
Eric A. Stillwell (born 9 November 1962; age 59) is a producer and writer who worked on a number of television series, made-for-television movies, and motion pictures, including numerous Star Trek series and motion pictures.
Sillwell became an avid Star Trek fan in 1974, having only been three years of age when the original series made its network debut in 1966. The family was living at Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, when he petitioned a local TV station in Boise to keep reruns of Star Trek on the air. At age 18, he organized and administered the international fan club known as Starfleet, which still operates today with thousands of members around the world. The Guinness Book of World Records recognizes Starfleet as the world's largest science fiction fan club, although Stillwell has not been actively involved with the organization in more than twenty years.
The professional Star Trek years
In 1987, after returning to Los Angeles, Sillwell landed the job of production assistant on Star Trek: The Next Generation. He spent the next two years running errands for producers, directors, writers, actors and various studio personnel involved with the hit TV series. In 1989, he was promoted to script coordinator for the series, working under Executive Producer Michael Piller to coordinate the typing, proofreading, printing and distribution of The Next Generation teleplays and script revisions.
Also in 1989, Stillwell teamed up with Trent Christopher Ganino to co-write the story (in fact, the two had written separate scripts, which Michael Piller suggested they merge) for "Yesterday's Enterprise", a third season episode which featured the return of Natasha Yar (Denise Crosby). The episode was nominated for three coveted Emmy Awards and won in the category for Technical Achievement in Sound Mixing. "Yesterday's Enterprise" has also been voted by the readers of Starlog magazine as the most popular episode of the series (1993); ranked as the single most popular one-hour installment of the series in a nationwide viewer's choice marathon (1994); was chosen by the readers of TV Guide as one of the top five all-time Star Trek episodes (1996); and was chosen by viewers in the UK as the number one Star Trek episode of all time (1996). The California Lottery even featured the Enterprise-C from the episode on one of six Star Trek scratch-and-win lottery tickets in 1996.
During the series hiatus in 1991, Stillwell also worked as an extra on Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, playing one of the numerous background Klingon spectators in the trial scene of Captain Kirk and Dr. McCoy. In 1992, accepting an opportunity to travel regularly, he left the studio and became a full-time convention organizer and emcee while continuing to write in a freelance capacity. In 1994, he teamed up with David R. George III to write the first season Star Trek: Voyager story entitled "Prime Factors". The episode was nominated for "Best Dramatic Hour" by the Sci-Fi Universe Awards in 1995.
In 1994, Stillwell founded Horizon Conventions, Inc., a California corporation. In its first nine months of operation, the company raised over US$10,000 for various charities, including the Make-A-Wish Foundation. In 1995, he co-produced the biggest convention ever staged for Star Trek fans. The event, held at the prestigious Royal Albert Hall in London, England, sold out 10,000 tickets two months before the show. The live event featured the entire principal cast of The Next Generation and producer Rick Berman, and it coincided with the London charity premiere of Star Trek Generations at the Empire Theatre, contributing to the fanfare and publicity resulting in Paramount Pictures' biggest-ever UK film opening.
In 1995, Stillwell was hired by Cruise Trek, a company that produces an annual seven-to-fifteen day Star Trek-themed cruise vacation, to serve as emcee for on board Star Trek-related events and activities. Eric and his wife Debra enjoyed the first cruise so much, they returned for six more. The 2001 trip to the eastern Mediterranean marked their seventh Cruise Trek.
In 1996, Stillwell returned to work with writer/producer Michael Piller (The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager) at Paramount Studios. As Piller's executive assistant, he served as Script Coordinator for Star Trek: Insurrection, the ninth installment in the enormously successful Star Trek film franchise.
In 1998, he was hired as an off-camera "typing" extra for a scene in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Far Beyond the Stars", directed by Avery Brooks. He also shares a story credit on The 34th Rule, a DS9 novel written by David R. George III and Armin Shimerman (Quark), which was released in 1999. To date, the book is one of the best selling DS9 novels ever published by Pocket Books.
Eric Stillwell has been referenced several times in the Star Trek live-action productions;
- There is a star named Stillwell in "Yesterday's Enterprise", in the alternate timeline, on a tactical situation monitor showing progress of the Klingons in their war with the Federation.
- In 2161, Captain Stillwell offered then-Ensign Travis Mayweather a posting aboard his vessel following the decommissioning of Mayweather's previous ship, the NX-class Enterprise NX-01. Preferring to continue serving with Captain Jonathan Archer, his commanding officer from Enterprise, Mayweather did not give Stillwell an immediate answer as he first wanted to see what Captain Archer was going to do next. (ENT: "These Are the Voyages...")
- Eric Stillwell was a member of Starfleet in the 24th century whose name was on a set graphic listing Starbase 32's staff.
Career outside Star Trek
Stillwell was born in Okinawa, Japan, in 1962. When his father retired from the US Air Force in 1976, the family moved to Eugene, Oregon. After graduating from the University of Oregon in his home town of Eugene, Oregon, in 1985 (with a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science), Stillwell headed for Hollywood. In 1986, he returned briefly to Oregon where he worked for Warner Bros. Television on the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie-of-the-week Promise, starring James Garner and James Woods, which became the most honored single program in the history of television with five Emmys, two Golden Globes, a Christopher Award, a Peabody Award, and the Humanitas Prize. Stilwell returned the following year to Los Angeles.
In 1999, Michael Piller left Paramount to establish his own production company named Piller Squared, Inc., where he was joined by Stillwell, who served as vice president of operations for the company as well as script coordinator and associate producer on Piller's television and film projects. In 2000, the company produced a science fiction pilot for The WB television network entitled Day One based on the British mini series The Last Train. Stillwell also served as associate producer on USA Network's hit television series The Dead Zone starring Anthony Michael Hall and Nicole de Boer, and the hit ABC Family series Wildfire featuring Nana Visitor. Michael Piller passed away in 2005.
From 2005 to 2010, Eric and Debra lived in Eugene, Oregon. In 2006, Eric served as the head writer and producer of the children's television series Nanna's Cottage and Monster Sunday School. In 2007, Eric joined the Public and Government Affairs staff at the University of Oregon – the same university where he graduated with a BS in Political Science in 1985.
In 2010, Eric and Debra moved to Burbank, California. In 2011, Eric joined the Alternative Entertainment department at FOX Broadcasting Company, where he worked on shows including American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance, and The X-Factor, as well as annual specials including the Teen Choice Awards, the American Country Awards, and an occasional Emmy broadcast. Debra worked as an oncology nurse, who was once hired on DS9 as a medical consultant, and has had extra roles on ER and Northern Exposure. She was later employed at the Disney Family Cancer Center in Burbank. Nowadays, they are enjoying retirement, in France.
Star Trek credits
(This list is currently incomplete.)
- "Too Short a Season" – Production Assistant (uncredited) (Season 1)
- "The Big Goodbye" – Production Assistant (uncredited)
- "Datalore" – Production Assistant (uncredited)
- "Angel One" – Production Assistant (uncredited)
- "11001001" – Production Assistant (uncredited)
- "Home Soil" – Production Assistant (uncredited)
- "When The Bough Breaks" – Production Assistant (uncredited)
- "Coming of Age" – Production Assistant (uncredited)
- "Heart of Glory" – Production Assistant (uncredited)
- "The Arsenal of Freedom" – Production Assistant (uncredited)
- "Skin of Evil" – Production Assistant (uncredited)
- "Symbiosis" – Production Assistant (uncredited)
- "We'll Always Have Paris" – Production Assistant (uncredited)
- "Conspiracy" – Production Assistant (uncredited)
- "The Neutral Zone" – Production Assistant (uncredited)
- Season 2 – Production Assistant (uncredited, 22 episodes)
- "Shades of Gray" – Researcher
- "Booby Trap" – Script Coordinator (uncredited) (Season 3)
- "Deja Q" – Pre-Production Associate
- "A Matter of Perspective" – Pre-Production Associate
- "Yesterday's Enterprise" – Pre-Production Associate/ Story (with Trent Christopher Ganino)
- "The Offspring" – Pre-Production Associate
- "Sins of the Father" – Pre-Production Associate
- "Allegiance" – Pre-Production Associate
- "Captain's Holiday" – Pre-Production Associate
- "Tin Man" – Pre-Production Associate
- "Hollow Pursuits" – Pre-Production Associate
- "The Most Toys" – Pre-Production Associate
- "Sarek" – Pre-Production Associate
- "Ménage à Troi" – Pre-Production Associate
- "Transfigurations" – Pre-Production Associate
- "The Best of Both Worlds" – Pre-Production Associate
- Season 4 – Pre-Production Associate (26 episodes)
- Season 5 – Pre-Production Associate (26 episodes)
Star Trek interviews
- TNG Season 3 DVD special feature "Mission Overview Year Three" ("Special Guests on the Bridge"), interviewed on 22 January 2002
- TNG Season 3 DVD special feature "Departmental Briefing Year Three" ("A New Writing Staff"), interviewed on 22 January 2002
- Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 7, p. 112, "My Star Trek Memories"
- Interview with Eric Stillwell at Seb's Raw Takes
- Eugene Register Guard article about Eric A. Stillwell
- Screenwriters Utopia interview with Eric A. Stillwell
- Trekking Through Life interview with Eric A. Stillwell
- Wired Magazine interview with Eric A. Stillwell
- Trek Brasilis interview with Eric A. Stillwell
- Eric A. Stillwell at Wikipedia