Documentary Film on Unicycling

Hello everyone! I’m not new here on the forums but for those of you that don’t know me, I’m a Film & Video major at George Mason University in VA. I have been a rider for almost 3 years now. For my senior thesis video project, I will be making a short documentary on the sport of unicycling. The aim of this video is to promote the sport of extreme unicycling as well as educate the public about this awesome sport. I would like to interview skillful riders about their involvement as well as capture footage of trick riding and take a deeper look at the variety of styles within the sport. Main topics I will cover are the history of the sport, theory, and riding styles such as freestyle, street, trials, muni, and distance.

I haven’t scheduled it but sometime I would like to travel down to shop in Atlanta and visit the unicycle club in NYC. I am limited to the east coast between those areas. So if you live between Atlanta and NYC and/or you plan to visit the area for some unicycling, please let me know. I would love to get to know every one of you and interview you for my doc.

For now, I am still in the pre-production phase; I am trying to figure out how to write the screenplay for this deal…tricky!!

Questions, comments, and suggestions are welcome–I want this to be a quality, commercial ready production. Something worthy of airing on TV.

have you seen this: ?

or this?


I made this one for a school project. It’s just about Muni though, and it is geared toward the non-unicyclist/school project audience.

Pretty awesome! Forgot to de-interlace?

Yeah, I didn’t know there was a uni doc coming out but that’s not going to stop me from doing my senior project on unicycling.

That was great documentary!

There seems to be quite a few uni-docs in the works! There’s one in post production now that features yours truly. The person doing the doc filmed me on some super tech trails, interviews spread out over days, and I gave them tons of clips to use also. I also had to sign a “release” form and all that, but I must admit I’m a little apprehensive about it because I have no creative control as I do in my own videos, so I feel vulnerable, lol. I guess I’ll know soon enough. :o

Yeah, that was also for a class project.

There’s also a documentary coming out from Dan Heaton, a sneak peek was shown at Moab.

Advice & direction for Unicycle Documentary

Hi everyone, Joey here…

I know codybee has already made a doc on unicycling, but I chose to make a documentary on unicycling for my senior thesis video BEFORE i knew one was already being made.

Anyhow, my plan is to introduce & educate non-riders/gen. public (target audience) to the world of sport unicycling. I want to cover the five basic styles (freestyle, street, trials, muni, distance) as well as the history and theory behind the sport. I plan to interview anyone and everyone I can along the east coast–from shop in Atlanta, all the way up to the NYC unicycling club (I need to contact these folks…I’ve only just begun pre-production).

Since my documentary is focused on revealing the sport to non-riders using interviews & b-roll (I aim to make it like Stacy Peralta’s docs Zboys and Riding Giants in style/format).

Here are a few questions I plan to present in the interview:
Questions for UniDOC

  1. Why unicycling?
    a. Why do you do it opposed to other sports such as skateboarding?
    b. What is special about unicycling/what sets it apart from other sports?
  2. How did you discover the sport?
  3. How did you learn & how long did it take?
  4. What is freestyle/street/trials/muni/distance unicycling?
  5. What kind of reactions do you get (good & bad) from the public?
    a. How do you respond to these (good/bad) reactions?
  6. What is your ultimate goal in the sport?
  7. What is your greatest accomplishment so far?
  8. What riding style do you do the most and why do you like it as opposed to other styles?
  9. Tell us the most embarrassing thing to happen to you while riding in public and what you did about it?
  10. What can unicycling offer to anyone? Name the benefits.
  11. Why should someone learn to unicycle?
  12. What should the public know/understand about unicycling?
  13. Where do you see the sport going in the future? (How it is progressing)
  14. How did unicycling begin as a sport? (history)
    a. When did it begin?
    b. Who started it?
  15. Name some of the big names in the sport (such as Kris Holm).
    a. Who they are
    b. What they represent
  16. For you, what sets unicycling apart from other activities?
  17. Do you have any stories you would like to share about the sport?

If you have any ideas, suggestions, comments, or questions for me–PLEASE feel free to add. If you ride the uni and live between Georgia and NYC, and would love to help me in my documentary (let me interview you/shoot you riding for b-roll)—please contact me!!

I have one year to produce this doc–it should be 10-15 min. in length and will be shot in miniDV NTSC 16:9 format.

send me a PM if you want my email/phone #

(Fred. VA)

i think there are to many questions. and i also think that some of those questions are to similar to one another. chck out my re-edited version. it one best documentary in the arizona film festival for highschool.

i also think 10-15 minutes is way long… people might lose interest

Holy moley! You look so much like (an older version) of Jerry Mathers from the old “Leave it to beaver” tv show of the late 50’s early 60’s! [B]

Uncanny, startling resemblance!!![/B] :stuck_out_tongue:


i think there are to many questions. and i also think that some of those questions are to similar to one another. chck out my re-edited version. it one best documentary in the arizona film festival for highschool.

Cool!, I like the re-edited version a lot more, it seemed like it used to be more riding instead of documenting, but the added facts/history makes it way better!

It looks like my message isn’t getting out there.

Getting ready to shoot


My name is Joey Neigh and I’m a unicyclist of 3 years and a filmmaker of 7 years. I am about to begin filming my senior video project–a documentary film on unicycling–because I am graduating in Summer of 2010 from George Mason University (VA). The film will be 20 minutes in length, shot in 1080p (HD), and it will feature the history of unicycling as well as personal interviews, stories, and riding footage. I would also like to use as much b-roll as possible (extra footage–photos & video). The entire documentary film will focus on the sport of unicycling in all riding styles: freestyle, street, trials, muni, and distance. The target audience is non-riders. I am also willing to promote sponsors. This will be a commercial-quality production.

So here’s my plan:

I would like to interview some folks for the documentary film I’m making on unicycling. I want to feature riders, hear their stories about events such as RTL, answer questions, and use B-roll throughout the film. If you have videos or photos you could allow me to copy or borrow, I would greatly appreciate it.

I plan on stopping in the following cities:

Richmond, VA
Washington, DC
Philadelphia, PA
New York, NY
Atlanta, GA

If you are an avid rider (or even if you were) and you would like to help me by participating in my film as a speaker/interviewee, please let me know! I want to interview the following people/groups for my documentary: - tour of facility/interviews
Unicycle Lady (DC) - interview/b-roll
Terry (Unigeezer) - b-roll
New York City Unicycle Club - interviews/b-roll
James Amon - Ride the Lobster/interview/b-roll
Kyle DeMilner & brother - Ride the Lobster/interview/b-roll
Max Gaitan - muni/interview/b-roll
Max McWhirter - muni/street/trials/interview/b-roll
Joe Levesque - freestyle/interview
Matthew Bishop - freestyle/interview
Jono Swartz - interview
Mike Douglas - interview/b-roll
Dave Critchfield - penny farthing b-roll

interview (sitting): I would like to film a sit-down interview
b-roll (performance): I would like to film you unicycling

Also, I am looking for anyone that can do animations/CGI/graphic design for my titles and lower thirds. If possible, I would also like to have a short animated section for the history of unicycling–kind of like the history of surfing in the documentary film “Riding Giants”. I am also looking for original music. If you can help out in ANY WAY, please don’t hesitate to contact me!

This is just a general announcement concerning my plan to do this film. I may contact you all individually later on but please don’t wait for me if you have some advice to give me. I will start shooting this summer and my travel schedule is not complete yet. If your name isn’t on this list and you would still like to be in my film, please let me know. I am willing to make stops on the way to and from NY-GA.

Don’t hesitate to contact me for any reason!

Joey Neigh
106 Brandice Street
Stafford, VA 22554
(540) 604-7887

My Other Links:

I’d let you interview me, but I doubt you’re getting out to Cali.

If I were in it, it would be a great way of motivating people & showing that truely ANYONE can learn to ride. (My lower legs are over 90% paralysed)

?# 3. I used a 90’ long railing. I took me two months @ 5 hrs/wk to ride 50 meters w/o a railing. Six months to commute 2.5 miles. 1.5 yr for my first Muni ride.

Much better IMO. The DH fact is wrong though. Dan did create street, but George Peck informed the world of riding off road when he made the DVD “Rough Terrain Unicycling” (it’s now an extra in Universe II).

smcmorrow - IMO yours is a bit too long, esp since so many clips are doubled. If I remember correctly you did this to fill a min time requirement:o Asside from that it’s pretty good :sunglasses:

Joe, good luck on your film. I hope you hook up w/ some great riders over there. Make sure you get your facts right (like smcmorrow did).

Next year in June 2010 I will be riding from Vancouver, Canada to Tijuana, Mexico to raise money for the American Liver Foundation. I’d be willing to do an interview, but I think that will be too late. I’d do a short one on planning the ride early next year if you want. Maybe around February or March? By that time my planning will be complete and I will be in the “training only” phase.


So far, I will be visiting the following cities/clubs, but not all the dates have been set:

Washington DC
DC Uni (my club)

College Park, MD
University of Maryland Juggling Club

Philadelphia, PA
Team Unicycle Max, any others from PA? (8/14?, 8/16?)

New York, NY
New York Unicycle Club - 8/15/09

Richmond, VA
Hell on Wheel: street, natural trials, MUni, Belle Isle…

Don’t forget, if you are in a club and/or are an avid unicyclist on the EAST COAST north of Atlanta GA (a possible destination) let me know because I’m looking for people to interview in my documentary film!

Want to uni today (in NYC)?

I am in NYC, Brooklyn to be precise. I am here (8/14-8/16) to shoot my doc on unicycling on Saturday, but it’s Friday and I have nothing to do right now. Anyone want to unicycle?? I have my 20", 24", BC, and UW.

Give me a call or text (my # temp. in my “visitor messages”) ~Joey

UPDATE on doc film

Hi everyone! (copied & pasted from my email newsletter)

Joey Neigh here. If you don’t know already, I am shooting a documentary film on the sport of unicycling…or the phenomenon of “unicycling” in general. So far it is going very well. I have a lot of footage of riding, interviews, and things are going very smooth, but I want to gear it up another notch. I want to form a compelling story that will interest the audience beyond the novelty of watching something that people don’t see everyday–I want to go beyond this and take the audience into the world of our little community! (And for those of you reading this that don’t unicycle, please be a part of this as I need your input as well). If you could give me any ideas, suggestions, comments, or questions–I would be very grateful!

Here are a few research questions I’m proposing to help aid in my pre-production writing and treatment organization. These are not the questions I have been asking the interviewees. I am still trying to define the main argument of my film. If you have any insight to these questions/concepts, please by all means respond to one or all of them! Not necessarily an answer to the question…but more of direction towards the purpose of my documentary–to show there’s more to unicycling than most people think (a concept that may change as I progress the development of my film’s argument). So, if you have an idea, suggestion, comment, or question that could aid this film towards a compelling story angle, by all means let me know!

I still have Unicycle Lady (Lisa) and Unigeezer (Terry) to interview. I will be going to California to see Unigeezer in December. Right now I’m in NYC, going to see the New York Unicycle Club for my 2nd time to document their bi-monthly meet. I just might visit or revisit any one of you again for documentation or interviewing. My film enters post production in January, but that’s not to say I can’t film anything extra before completion. The film should be complete by April / May of 2010. I predict it will be 20 to 30 minutes in length, perfect for submission to Sundance FF as a “short”…which will be more successful than if it were a full-length feature (over 60 min). It is also geared for a 30-minute television spot, but we’ll see. It’s possible that it may be as short as 10 minutes, but it depends. Length does not determine a good film–CONTENT determines a good film. If it doesn’t contribute to the story, it doesn’t go in the film.

What I need your advice/input on:

Documentary Filmmaker based
Ideas I have already answered:
As a filmmaker, how can I test the truth, accuracy, and validity of my findings? I would have to say through personal testimony based on experience from those I interview & document. Where can you find the facts? I would say ‘the source’–the unicycle community!
What could I film that would show the truth? Uh…I don’t know any clowns on unicycles that I could film–that lack of footage could be truth in itself! LOL

  1. WHAT IS the TRUTH about unicycling??

  2. Any CONTROVERSY in unicycling as a sport? Any OPPOSING positions?

  3. Is there a question begging to be answered in this film? Is there truth that needs to be told ? What is it? (kinda goes with #1 in a way…)

And for those of you who will be interviewed, these questions are very general. You will not be asked every question listed. Rather, these questions are geared for the purpose of striking up conversation and extracting your knowledge and experience on the topic. New questions may arise as I interview you. These questions should be looked at as a starting base for the interview. But these questions can contribute to the film’s search for truth…so please “review” these questions if you are waiting to be interviewed, just so you’ll be prepared to know what we’re talking about. If you have additional questions or comments, feel free to let me know!

Interview-based questions
If you are being interviewed or have been interviewed, these are the questions I will be (or already have) presenting/ed to you to search for personal and broader facts.

  1. How did you discover/learn about unicycling?
  2. How did you learn & how long did it take?
  3. Why unicycling? (What made you want to learn? Why do this opposed to other sports such as skateboarding, etc.? What is special about unicycling / what sets it apart from other sports?)
  4. What riding style do you do the most & why?
  5. (also describe what the riding style involves) Riding Styles: freestyle, street, trials, mountain, distance, etc.
  6. What kind of reactions do you get (good/bad) from the public?
    a. what are the stereotypes (good/bad) of unicyclists?
    b. how do you respond to these reactions?
  7. What is your ultimate goal in the sport?
  8. What is your greatest accomplishment so far?
  9. Tell us the most embarrassing thing to happen to you while riding in public and what you did in response?
  10. What is your best/favorite memory of unicycling?
  11. What can unicycling offer to anyone? (benefits) Why should someone learn?
  12. What should the public know and understand about unicycling?
  13. Where do you see the sport going in the future? (how it is progressing)
  14. History of unicycling (this question has been removed)
  15. For you, what sets unicycling apart from other activities?
  16. Do you have any stories you would like to share about the sport?

Ride the Lobster (participants only)

  1. Tell us all about RTL and what it’s about.
  2. What was your experience with RTL? Did you train for the event?
  3. Who started RTL and how/when did it begin?
  4. Tell us about the Evolution of Balance award.
  5. What other touring competitions are there other than RTL?
  6. What kind of riders had the advantage?

NEW QUESTIONS (just added)

What makes unicycling such a close-knit, community-shared activity?
How is it that unicyclists seem to identify with each other and set themselves apart from others?
What makes this simple skill of balance so interesting to others outside of the sport AND so enjoyable to those who participate in it?
How fast is this sport growing? How far has it come and how far can it go?

Thank you for taking the time to read this long email and for your contribution toward the success of my film. I want this documentary to show the world how much unicycling has to offer and how there is so much more to this amazing activity than most people think. Again, the main purpose of this email is to show you my plans and to help me to fine-tune an argument for my film. I want a compelling story…and I need to find some element of conflict or controversy, but the success of the film isn’t dependent on that.

doc spotlight

This is BY FAR not my documentary–but this is a short “spotlight” documentary I made recently for my friend Dylan: