NFTS Scotland: Writing the TV Pilot Online

Short course


Delivered in the NFTS Scotland Virtual Classroom accessed via Zoom, in partnership with NFTS Leeds and NFTS Cymru Wales

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 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. The Amazon Prime Video series 'The Rig' directed by John Strickland (Line of Duty. Bodyguard) and written by one of our first course graduates, David Macpherson, was also filmed exclusively in Scotland. 

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: £1125
Corporate Rate: £2000


This course is kindly supported by all3media who provide a fully-funded scholarship for a writer from an ethnically diverse background. Please note on your application if you are eligible for this award and wish to be considered. Eligible applicants must be resident in Scotland for no less than three years. 


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. 

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 required to upload your CV. 
Please also read the Terms and Conditions of booking as payment of a successful application assumes acceptance of these. 

Begin your application