NFTS Scotland Sessions: Factual Storytelling with Peter Dale

Short course


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

Every well-told story has an underlying structure to it.  Whether it be a Shakespeare play, a Hollywood blockbuster, a feature documentary or a TV factual entertainment programme.  

In this session, Peter Dale will explain the elements that every story needs and how great storytellers organise those things into a compelling narrative.  He’ll show you how the organising principles of narrative we usually associate with high drama, apply equally to different kinds of factual storytelling.

This online session is delivered by Peter Dale, Head of Documentary at the NFTS,. He is associated with some of the most popular and acclaimed documentaries and formatted reality shows of our time. He was responsible for commissioning shows such as Faking ItWife SwapSupernannyCutting Edge and Jamie’s School Dinners along with drama-docs like Death of a PresidentTony Blair on TrialThe Government Inspector and Hamburg Cell. He has worked with luminaries such as Nick Broomfield, Molly Dineen, Errol Morris, Penny Woolcock, Ronan Bennett and Peter Kosminsky and most recently was Executive Producer for Louis Theroux’s Altered States series.

This session is for anyone who is interested in storytelling in factual film and programme making.

You will learn:

  • what questions you should ask of any story you want to tell
  • how the answers to those questions can be organised 
  • how this awareness enables you to write a convincing pitch and how it helps you untangle a story that isn’t working in the edit

Peter also leads our How Stories Work in Documentaries, Where Do Documentary Ideas Come From? and How to Pitch A Documentary courses which are all currently open for applications. 

Fees and funding options

Fees for this course are as follows:

Freelance Rate: £35
Corporate Rate: £75

How to apply

Application deadline: Register your interest

This session is not currently open for applications. Please register your interest to be advised of future dates.