After announcing its first suite of courses for 2018 at the Glasgow Film Festival in February this year, NFTS Scotland is officially up and running, having successfully run its inaugural course ‘How Stories Work in Documentaries’, led by NFTS’s own Co-Head of Documentaries, BAFTA nominated, Peter Dale.

NFTS Scotland inagural course participants with course leader & NFTS Co-Head of Documentary, Peter Dale

Supported by the school’s BBC Scotland partnership, the course took place at Pacific Quay in Glasgow, which basked in sunshine for the first time in weeks, setting the scene for a very bright week.

"It was wonderful to be learning in such an institution like the BBC and to be amongst all the other creativity in the building." (course participant, Lewis Landini, Freelance)

Culture Secretary, Fiona Hyslop, visited to officially open the Scottish hub, meeting the participants, including those supported by Scottish Government bursaries. Ms Hyslop said “We want to continue to support our growing screen industry. This new school will give people in Scotland the opportunity to develop their careers and move up the creative ladder, while also providing the industry with a stream of well-qualified talent.”

"(The course) really was an eye opener for pursuing a career in documentary storytelling, and in fact story telling in general. I can’t wait to put what I learned in this course into practice. Peter's insight into the documentary form was fantastic and extremely valuable use of my time." (Murray Donaldson, Freelance)

The first cohort of participants, including staff from BBC Scotland and independent freelancers, worked intensively with Peter for five days. Core learning included how to bring story ideas to life, reflecting on the participants’ own life stories in order to understand what the main characters will go through in documentaries and to look at every story with a similar empathy. Participants also gained insight into pitches and meetings from an ex-commissioner’s perspective and changing their writing and thinking processes to become better storytellers.

"One of the best courses I have enjoyed in my twenty-year media career." (Heather Kane, BBC Scotland)

The group really bonded  around their own stories and the stories they want to tell. The excellent feedback and atmosphere in the room on the last day created a sense of a ‘were you there?’ moment, complete with cake to mark the occasion, which is a great start for the NFTS Scotland hub, and a testament to the quality of the training NFTS offers.   

"Peter Dale has been an absolute inspiration. I will never forget what he has taught me this week". (Laura-Jane Chalmers, BBC Scotland)

For more information on the next NFTS Scotland courses, visit and follow us @NFTSScotland on Twitter and Facebook