NFTS Scotland: How to Pitch a Documentary Online

Short course


Delivered in the NFTS Scotland Virtual Classroom, accessed via Zoom.  

There are many theories about what works in a pitch, and what doesn’t. And just as many exceptions that don’t prove the rules. This makes selling documentary ideas seem like a dark art - and something many people try to avoid.  But in any pitch there are simple principles at work and this one day course will give you a good grasp of what they are.  You’ll also be guided through how to make them work for you.

How to prepare - what do you need for a successful pitch? What actually happens in the room - how can you communicate your ideas effectively? And what should you do afterwards? With practise you’ll learn that, far from being an intimidating experience, pitching can be fun and a great way to start 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

The course is led by Peter Dale, who produced and directed documentaries for the BBC, was Head of Documentaries at Channel 4, and conceived and launched More4, Channel 4’s third digital channel. He also ran his own independent production company for 10 years. He’s now the Head of Documentary at the NFTS. 

The course is aimed at producers at entry and junior levels including Researchers, Development Producers, Edit Producers, Producer/Directors, Assistant Producers, 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: £175
Corporate Rate: £265


A limited number of bursaries are available for all of our short courses. 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 can pay for the course by other means.

Please apply as far in advance of the course date as possible (and no later than 10 working days in advance of the course date) to give yourself the best chance of securing a supported place, as we may not be able to accommodate all applications.

Once you have submitted your course application, your bursary application, and supporting documents, should be submitted to

NFTS Scotland Bursary Guidelines (Word doc)

NFTS Scotland Bursary Application Form (pdf)

If you are not eligible for an NFTS Scotland bursary, please read our Alternative Funding Avenues document (pdf) which points you in the direction of a few other places which may be able to help. Please submit your application in plenty of time as timescales for funders differ. 

How to apply

Application deadline:

Please complete the application form to apply. You will be asked to upload your CV. 


Begin your application