Short course


Delivered in the NFTS Scotland Virtual Classroom accessed by Zoom

People call it a dark art - and there’s certainly a lot of mystique around what constitutes a good pitch. There are many theories about what works and what doesn’t. And just as many exceptions that don’t prove the rules. This makes it something that most people try to avoid – not to mention the stage-fright.

This one-day course is designed to give you some insight into what actually happens in a pitch, understand what things the winning ones share and introduce you to the basic principles of how to communicate your ideas effectively.

You’ll practice the ‘prep’, the ‘room’ and the all-important ‘follow-up’. And you’ll learn that, far from being an intimidating experience, pitching can be fun and a great way to start to 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

This course is led by Peter Dale, who produced and directed documentaries for the BBC for 18 years before going to Channel 4 as Head of Documentaries. In 2005 he conceived and launched More4, Channel 4’s third digital channel. His own independent production company Rare Day produces quality documentary and drama for broadcasters and other distributors. He’s now the Head of Documentary at the NFTS, as well as Executive Producer on a number of high-profile documentaries.

The course is aimed at experienced directors, producers and series producers - anyone who has pitching experience but wants to develop their existing skills to be more effective at winning the commission.

We also offer How to Pitch a Documentary 1 for entry and junior level practitoners, and anyone who wants to know more about pitching ideas for documentaries.  

Fees and funding options

Fees for this course are as follows:

Freelance Rate: £140
Corporate Rate: £220

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

The bursary application deadline for this course is Monday 11th May 2020 at 9 am

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