Encanto: how to apply its formula to your scriptwriting

encanto script
Image: Disney

Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away… Nah – just kidding. ‘Long ago’ is a great way to start a kid’s bedtime story though, and it’s been with us since time immemorial. Why bring it up? Because ‘long ago’ sets the scene for Disney’s recent four-quadrant hit, Encanto. The story follows the Madrigal family in their magical home or Casita in the mountains of Colombia.But the magic of the Encanto script has reeled in more than just kids. In fact, the storyline appeals to parents, and on a more professional level, to therapists. All in ways that made scriptwriter/director Jared Bush feel like he was dreaming. This is because the writing behind the Encanto script tackles much more than just the usual Disney theme of magic. It focuses on a family finding a place they can safely call home. But instead of a one size fits all approach, Encanto’s script accommodates a much wider audience than just kids. 

So, if you’re looking for helpful writing advice on how to adapt your script to a varied audience, here are a few of the best takeaways from the Encanto script – along with how your next project can follow suit!

Scriptwriting for kids 

Element of fun 

In under two hours, Encanto really enhances the element of fun for kids. With a host of vibrant colors that have a deeper meaning, adorable characters, and catchy songs the script has both visual and sound appeal to a younger audience. Even Kelly Clarkson’s kids enjoyed the light-hearted aspect of Encanto. Kelly posted online that she watched the movie with her kids three times and by the third time they could quote the lines and sing along from memory. 

So Encanto is fun to watch. You can call it light-hearted and enjoyable. You can say it’s for families who just want to spend some quality time together watching a good ole-fashioned flick. 

Element of adventure 

For the slightly older kid audience Encanto follows Mirabel on an adventure to save her family. But through the adventure comes the deeper journey of sibling connection. Mirabel learns that her sister Luisas’ gift of strength has actually become a source of pressure. Luisa admits to always feeling pressured to be stronger than she actually is. Through the well-written song Surface Pressure, Mirabel along with the audience is catapulted into the mind of Lusia. Which reveals a fragile interior beneath the surface strength. 

The result of their interaction comes down to the central idea that it’s good to ask for help. Especially if you’ve got too much on your plate. Or in Louisa’s case too many donkeys on your shoulders. A useful lesson in communication for a younger and older audience who may feel overwhelmed with responsibility. 

Scriptwriting for teens 


Maribel encanto
Image Disney

Encanto creates a journey of discovery for Mirabel through relatability. This was evident in the case of Lowri Moore who wrote a letter to Disney when she was just nine years old. The letter had one simple request.


Lowri said she was the only person who wore specs in her family and this made her feel alone. So if Disney could create a glasses-wearing character it would be more relatable. Stephanie Beatriz said a similar thing about her own connection to the character. She emphasized that believing you belong is hard but it’s even harder for a teenager. 

So the Encanto script appeals to teens because it focuses on the feeling of belonging. The thought is that even when you’re alone, you’re never really on your own. 


In the case of Mirabel’s strained relationship with her sister Isabela Madrigal, the theme of jealousy and misunderstanding is addressed. Isabela believes that Mirabel has a better life because she doesn’t need to be perfect all the time. Whereas Mirabel believes Isabela IS the golden child with a perfect life. 

This type of writing brings to the fore the idea that even if you excel at something or have the appearance of being perfect like Isabela you still need room to fail and grow. Eventually realizing that it’s okay to not be perfect all the time.  

The different characters offer contrast. Yet, they support to each other. This type of writing adds to a more compelling story.

Scriptwriting for adults 

Fitting in is no longer the norm

Because we don’t talk about Bruno, let’s talk about Maribel Martinez

The twenty-three-year-old mother of two lit up TikTok with her impersonation of Luisa. Her physical similarity to the animated character had over twenty-seven million people singing along to her video of Surface Pressure. She heard the song before seeing the movie, so the lyrics resonated with her before she even realized there was also a physical resemblance. Despite being a middle child, Maribel gets raised as the eldest. The pressure of fitting in is something she’s no stranger to. 

So the idea of not pressuring kids to fit in or make the family proud according to parental terms is something that strikes a chord with the adult population around the world. Much like Maribel who was able to channel her own pressure into a viral hit.

Filling in the generation gap 

All three sisters (Luisa, Isabela, and Mirabel) find it a challenge to communicate with their grandmother Abuela Alma. As the matriarch in this multi-generation family, she suffers through years of trauma after losing her husband. This contributes to her determination in holding together the miracle magic whatever the cost. So, the underlying theme running through the younger generation is, I want to be seen even though my experiences are different from yours. 

The type of scriptwriting appeals to the adult population who just want to be seen and acknowledged by the older generation in their family. It also creates a good balance between the trauma of the past and how it can contribute to the trauma of the present and maybe even the future if left unchecked.  

Scriptwriting for professionals 

Emotional assistance is a crucial factor in Encanto’s scriptwriting appeal. It may be topping charts and winning awards for catchy songs and best animation, but it’s also drawing oodles of praise from therapists. All because the script portrays the real effects of trauma and healing

The writing starts off by focusing on who is causing the magic of the Casita to fail. But the family has to ultimately come to terms with the fact that their magic comes from each other and not from their gifts. When their home collapses, they eventually figure out that their miracle is their ability to survive and flourish even in the face of tragedy. 

So at the end of the day, wounds can mend and a house can be rebuilt, but this is only when a family comes together. This is a foundation worth more than all the brick and mortar in the world. 

Key points from the Encanto script

Image: Disney

Write relatably 

As much as viewers wish they were a superspy like James Bond or even the next Dominic Toretto, it’s much more real for the audience to see themselves in the character. And the Encanto script caters to people who come in all shapes and sizes. From the black sheep of the family Bruno Madrigal to the emotional and tempestuous Pepa Madrigal, the audience can relate to various characters who resemble family life the world over. 

So, if you need a nudge in the scriptwriting direction, go through our how to write killer scripts series to find the best pointers to make your script more relatable. 

Write with depth 

The audience can often spot the enemy in a script a mile away. But Encanto breaks tradition by incorporating smaller details that pivot away from having a main bad guy. By hiding Bruno away the audience naturally becomes suspicious. Could he be trying to sabotage the family? Then there is Abuela Alma’s distant attitude towards Mirabel which builds its own share of suspense. 

But instead of a villainous family member, the overall takeaway is a heartfelt message of compassion and forgiveness. The audience comes to understand that there is no enemy trying to hurt the family. Just a bunch of imperfect people doing their best to hold onto each other while making a host of mistakes along the way.  

In a time where hopelessness and pandemic are words often strung together, the Encanto script focuses on a beautiful reminder of the miracle that is family and the magic that is in each and every one of its members. 

Final thoughts on the Encanto script

Scriptwriting is a balancing act of words, emotions, and character portrayal. But the main focus of writing should be to let the audience appreciate the words through the theme of being only human.

If we have any advice to give, it’s to write for people, not perfection. As fun as it might be for the audience to follow, “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….” it’s even more heart-wrenching for them to hear: “Long ago, when my three babies had just been born, your Abuelo Pedro and I were forced to flee our home.”

This means your writing shouldn’t follow a one size fits all policy. And whether you’re writing for kids or adults, keeping the content relatable and with hidden depth can appeal to the audience by focusing on what makes people human. It’s also the best way to create your own magic through the power of words.  

So, we wish you and your scriptwriting the best of success. And whether your next project needs a Bruno or Maribel Madrigal, Voice123 has a wonderfully magical casita of voice actors to help you give a voice to your script!


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