Short course


Delivered in the NFTS Scotland Virtual Classroom accessed by Zoom.

There are many theories about what works in a pitch, and what doesn’t. And just as many exceptions that don’t prove the rules. This makes selling documentary ideas seem like a dark art - and something many people try to avoid.  But in any pitch there are simple principles at work and this one day course will give you a good grasp of what they are.  You’ll also be guided through how to make them work for you.

How to prepare - what do you need for a successful pitch? What actually happens in the room - how can you communicate your ideas effectively? And what should you do afterwards? With practise you’ll learn that, far from being an intimidating experience, pitching can be fun and a great way to start any creative process.

This intensive, practical course covers:

  • The key elements of a pitch
  • What’s really going on in the pitch process
  • Preparing your pitch
  • Delivering it effectively
  • When to follow-up and when to try elsewhere

The course is led by Peter Dale, who produced and directed documentaries for the BBC, was Head of Documentaries at Channel 4, and conceived and launched More4, Channel 4’s third digital channel. He also ran his own independent production company for 10 years. He’s now the Head of Documentary at the NFTS. 

The course is aimed at producers at entry and junior levels including Researchers, Development Producers, Edit Producers, Producer/Directors, Assistant Producers, and anyone who wants to know more about pitching ideas for documentaries. 

We also offer How to Pitch a Documentary 2 for more experienced practitioners. 

Fees and funding options

Fees for this course are as follows:

Freelance Rate: £125
Corporate Rate: £210

Online rates are valid until June 2020

Bursaries, supported by the Scottish Government, are also available for those who are eligible.


If you wish to apply for a bursary to contribute to the costs of your course, please read the bursary guidelines below carefully to confirm your eligibility. Please do not apply to a course unless you are sure you meet the bursary eligibility criteria or are able to pay for the course. 

Once you have submitted your course application, your bursary application should be submitted to

NFTS Scotland Bursary Guidelines

NFTS Scotland Bursary Application Form

If you are not eligible for an NFTS Scotland bursary, please also read our Alternative Funding Avenues document which points you in the direction of a few other places which may be able to help.


NFTS Scotland Hardship Fund 

With support from Screen Scotland, a new fund aimed at practitioners who have experienced significant work and financial loss as a direct result of the impact of COVID-19 is available for our online courses from May 2020 onwards.

This fund is available to those who are not able to evidence their eligibility for the NFTS Scotland bursary fund with the required supporting documents, but who now meet the income threshold criteria. 

It is a small, discretionary fund aimed at supporting those most in need. You should only apply if you are a Scottish resident and your finances have been directly affected by loss of work in March 2020 and beyond as a result of COVID-19.

To apply for support, please complete this application form and submit it to at the same time as making your course application.  


How to apply

Application deadline: Register your interest

This course is not currently open for applications. To be informed of future dates as they become available, please register your interest