In the Spanish countryside hides a lonely dragon named Unai. To everyone, he is seen as a dangerous beast not to cross paths with, but in reality he wouldn’t hurt a bug! One day an adventurous young girl named, Emilia, comes and explores his home found in the ruins of a medieval castle. Unaware of the dangers she’s in, Unai must step out of the shadows and reveal to himself and to Emi that perhaps he’s not as dangerous as he appears.
It all started with a girl’s love for dragons. Angelia, our producer, came up with the concept of a timid guard befriending the dragon he was supposed to be defending against. We loved the simplicity of it and decided it was our best route. After several pitches and some advice from Aaron Adams we decided the story would be more interesting if it were told from the dragon’s point of view. As such the secondary character changed from a guard to an aspiring child actor to an adventurous girl. There were so many amazing ideas being brought up and thrown around but our time constraint and small team forced us to chip away at the story until it became something we could manage.
The theme that set up the base for our story was “Don’t be afraid to challenge the things you’ve been told your whole life.” It was later simplified in the final product but the idea still remains. Unai has to realize he is not the terrifying monster everyone expects him to be and Emilia (Emi for short) has to realize that just because Unai is a dragon doesn’t mean he wants to hurt her.
We looked at several locations in Europe before deciding a dragon story from Spain could be interesting. When we saw the Spanish Alps we knew this was where we wanted to story to take place.
The name of the short was one of the last things we decided on. It was decided that the short would be named after the dragon but the dragon did not have a name until the very end. We had a few good name ideas that were brought up and even fell in love with one in particular but some translation issues led us to finally decide on Unai. It is a Basque name meaning ‘shepherd’. In the Bible, shepherds are known for being caring while also being capable of protecting their sheep from serious threats. Unai seemed to match this description minus the sheep.
A couple of things we took away from this experience were learning to communicate our ideas and learning to let go of beloved ideas. Through the tough conversations, long nights, and occasional breakdowns we managed to create something we can be proud of.