Short course


This intensive practical course will equip you with the knowledge and skills to pursue a successful future career in the Assistant Directors department.  The course will be taught by top industry professionals, led by Nick Heckstall-Smith (Churchill, Ex Machina, Skyfall)

This 5-day course will be delivered online, combining virtual classroom learning and practical exercises.

The course will cover:

  • The roles and responsibilities of each member of the ADs’ department in pre-production and during the shoot
  • Where the department fits in with production and how to work collaboratively with other departments
  • The paperwork used by the whole of production as well as department-specific documents
  • Set protocol, etiquette and communication skills
  • How to break down a script for different purposes
  • How to develop a shooting schedule
  • The skills required to be a capable and successful Assistant Director
  • Health & Safety from the 1st Assistant Director’s perspective and COVID-19 protocols

This course is for anyone wishing to work in the Assistant Director’s department. 

Fees and funding options

Fees for this course are as follows:

Freelance Rate: £450
Corporate Rate: £850

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. 

Please note that bursary funding availability from NFTS Scotland is limited and we encourage you to seek alternative avenues of funding as soon as possible as well. 

Please read our Alternative Funding Avenues document which points you in the direction of a few other places which may be able to help.

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

NFTS Scotland Bursary Guidelines

NFTS Scotland Bursary Application Form 


NFTS Scotland Hardship Fund 

With support from Screen Scotland, a new fund aimed at practitioners who have experienced significant work and financial loss as a direct result of the impact of COVID-19 is available for our online courses from May 2020 onwards.

This fund is available to those who are not able to evidence their eligibility for the NFTS Scotland bursary fund with the required supporting documents, but who now meet the income threshold criteria. 

It is a small, discretionary fund aimed at supporting those most in need. You should only apply if you are a Scottish resident and your finances have been directly affected by loss of work in March 2020 and beyond as a result of COVID-19.

To apply for support, please complete this application form and submit it to at the same time as making your course application.  

How to apply

Application deadline: Book Now

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