NFTS Leeds: Writing the TV Pilot: Online

Short course


Delivered in the NFTS Leeds Virtual Classroom accessed via Zoom

The success of ‘Box Set’ TV Drama has created a new appetite among audiences for original and challenging drama series on television.
Writing the TV Pilot offers writers and creative producers the chance to plan and write a 50-minute pilot episode of an original drama series over an intensive two-week period.

This course is led by NFTS's own Peter Ansorge (Ex-commissioning Editor and Head of Channel 4 Drama) whose award-winning career includes: A Very British Coup, Traffik, GBH, The Politician’s Wife, Tales of the City, Brookside and The Camomile Lawn.

Be prepared to write, re-write and fine-tune overnight .
We will encourage the kind of ambition achieved by the best drama series based on the actual practice of working on a script among professionals.

We are looking for fresh ideas and the tenacity to bring them to screen.

In week one, we will address the challenge of writing the opening minutes of the pilot. We’ll look at landmark series and analyse how you grab an audience. At the end of the week, a group of actors will work on your opening ten minutes. We will reference great drama series of the past and present. You will be writing between three and five minutes of your pilot each day, and reworking overnight.

In week two, we will move towards the completion of your pilot, and offer advice on the next stage, how to get your pilot script onto the desks of the right producer and commissioning editor. 

Previous participants said:

"Since (completing the course) I have managed to secure deals on four more original series ideas with some of the leading production companies in the UK, achieved my first pilot commission and had an interview for working on a new big budget drama series from BBC America.... It really felt as close to an apprenticeship in TV writing as it's possible to get."

"I would highly recommend this course. In just two weeks I have produced a TV script worthy of submission."

"The highlight of this course was getting positive feedback and encouragement in a supportive and honest environment."

"This course has given me a sense of new found confidence. It was absolutely incredible to have bonded and now created a network of such rich talent from such a diverse group. To learn from one another outside of this course and having a desire to see each other grow is a joy. And that is definitely a testament to NFTS"

"Peter's knowledge is superb. I was constantly inspired."

"From start to finish, the course was a succession of highlights - to have the support and expertise required to develop and progress my initial idea into something resembling ‘good’ on a daily basis is something that cannot be underestimated. From the expertise of the teachers, to the knowledge and support of my fellow participants, with a variety of specialties and prior experience is a luxury that isn’t to be underestimated."


Fees and funding options

Fees for this course are as follows:

Freelance Rate: £1125
Corporate Rate: £2000



How to apply

Application deadline: Book Now

To apply for this course, please complete the application form.

Begin your application