Short course


Making documentaries is tough, and one of the hardest stages is the edit.  There’s no easier place to get lost than in a cutting room while you’re trying to figure out how to make sense of hours and hours of rushes.

However, every good documentary or factual programme has a set of organising principles that are fundamental, easy to grasp and vital in helping you make sense of your material.

If you know what they are and why they matter, the problems you encounter throughout the film-making process will be more easily solved.

This practical course covers:

  • Introduce you to the key elements of story structure
  • Explain how stories work in documentaries
  • Help you plan your film and pitch it
  • Show you how to prepare for the edit
  • Help you solve the problems that every film encounters in the edit

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 producers at all levels including Development Producers, Edit Producers, Series Producers, Producer Directors, Assistant Producers and anyone who wants to know more about how stories work in documentaries.

Fees and funding options

Fees for this course are as follows:

Corporate Rate: £765
Freelance Rate: £475

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 application, bursary applications should be submitted, along with a diversity monitoring form, to



NFTS Scotland Bursary Guidelines

NFTS Scotland Bursary Application Form

NFTS Scotland Diversity Monitoring Form 



How to apply

Application deadline:

To apply, please complete the application form and submit a copy of your CV along with a Diversity Monitoring Form to