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
WHAT IS the TRUTH about unicycling??
Any CONTROVERSY in unicycling as a sport? Any OPPOSING positions?
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!
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.
- How did you discover/learn about unicycling?
- How did you learn & how long did it take?
- 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?)
- What riding style do you do the most & why?
- (also describe what the riding style involves) Riding Styles: freestyle, street, trials, mountain, distance, etc.
- 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?
- What is your ultimate goal in the sport?
- What is your greatest accomplishment so far?
- Tell us the most embarrassing thing to happen to you while riding in public and what you did in response?
- What is your best/favorite memory of unicycling?
- What can unicycling offer to anyone? (benefits) Why should someone learn?
- What should the public know and understand about unicycling?
- Where do you see the sport going in the future? (how it is progressing)
- History of unicycling (this question has been removed)
- For you, what sets unicycling apart from other activities?
- Do you have any stories you would like to share about the sport?
Ride the Lobster (participants only)
- Tell us all about RTL and what it’s about.
- What was your experience with RTL? Did you train for the event?
- Who started RTL and how/when did it begin?
- Tell us about the Evolution of Balance award.
- What other touring competitions are there other than RTL?
- 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.