NFTS Scotland: The Ideas Lab: Developing & Pitching Skills Online

Short course


This course is delivered in the NFTS Leeds Virtual Classroom, accessed via Zoom, in partnership with NFTS Scotland and NFTS Cymru Wales

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:


Finding the story and the approach
Writing the proposal
Making the taster


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


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 to give yourself the best chance of securing a supported place, as we may not be able to accommodate all applications. We aim to advise successful applicants no later than 10 working days prior to the course start date. 

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. 

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.

How to apply

Application deadline: Coming Soon

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

Please also read the Terms and Conditions of booking as payment of a succesful application assumes acceptance of these. 

Begin your application