Short course


Delivered in the NFTS Scotland 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.

‘Writing the TV Pilot’ is sponsored by All3Media and six of the scripts completed on Peter’s recent courses at NFTS Scotland and Beaconsfield are in development with leading production companies including Amazon Studios, Company Pictures and Sam Mendes’ Neil Street.

Join this course and 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 Scotland."

"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: £950
Corporate Rate: £1675

Online rates are valid until December 2020


This course is kindly supported by all3media who provide two fully-funded scholarships for writers from a BAME background. Please note on your application if you are eligible for this award and wish to be considered. 


Bursaries, supported by the Scottish Government, are 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. 

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

The bursary deadline for this course is Monday 5th October at 9am.

Please note that this is earlier than usual to enable you to pursue alternative sources of funding if your application to NFTS Scotland is not successful. We encourage you to do so as our bursary funding is limited. 

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

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: 02 Nov 2020

Please complete the application form to apply

Begin your application