NFTS Leeds: The Ideas Lab: Developing & Pitching Skills (Unscripted): Online

Short course


This course is delivered via the NFTS Leeds Virtual Classroom, accessed via Zoom.

The Ideas Lab - A 2 Day Factual Development & Pitching Lab

Do you have a factual idea at any stage, that you want to develop further? Thinking of new and compelling ways to tell stories? Got the knack of discovering and developing new broadcast/online talent? 


In the Ideas Lab, you will hone your development skills, and increase your chances of working in development. It is also designed to give you some insight into what actually happens in a pitch.  As well as exploring what the winning ones share and introducing you to the basic principles of how to communicate your ideas effectively.

With top tips and advice – including commissioning dos and don’ts – the aim of the course is to help you increase your chances of success.

The course will cover:

DAY 1.

Finding the story and the approach

Writing the proposal

Making the taster

DAY 2.

The market place for documentaries and factual programmes

The pitch

About the Tutor:

Fran Robertson is a producer/director with over 25 years of film-making experience.   She has produced documentaries for acclaimed directors Kevin Macdonald and Beeban Kidron (Sex, Death and the Gods for BBC Storyville). 

As a director, she has made films for BBC, Channel 4 and ITV through her production company Two Step Films . These include Autism: Challenging Behaviour for BBC4 (short-listed for a Grierson award) and The Estate We’re In for BBC1. Fran is currently developing a feature length documentary about the Guildford Bombings with Kevin Macdonald as Executive Producer.

Fran has also taught documentary film-making as a visiting lecturer at the Met Film School, Royal Holloway, London School of Economics and the University of the Arts London

Fees and funding options

Fees for this course are as follows:

Freelance: £365

Corporate: £565

As part of our work to diversify the screen industry workforce, there is reduction in fees of up to 50% made available by our partnership with the BFI for freelancers with disabilities, who are ethnically diverse or from lower socio-economic backgrounds

Please state ‘APPLYING FOR ADDITIONAL BFI FUNDING’ at the end of your Why do you want to attend?’ statement in order for your submission to be considered

Entry requirements

A passion for making factual programmes is essential. You will also ideally have an idea, at any stage, that you would like to develop.