How Stories Work In Documentaries

Course Dates: 30 April - 4 May 2018
Course Tutor: Peter Dale

Course Overview

Making documentaries is tough, and one of the hardest stages is the edit.  There’s no easier place to get lost than in a cutting room while you’re trying to figure out how to make sense of hours and hours of rushes.

However, every good documentary or factual programme has a set of organising principles that are fundamental, easy to grasp and vital in helping you make sense of your material.

If you know what they are and why they matter, the problems you encounter throughout the film-making process will be more easily solved.

This Course Covers

This intensive, practical course will:

  • Introduce you to the key elements of story structure
  • Explain how stories work in documentaries
  • Help you plan your film and pitch it
  • Show you how to prepare for the edit
  • Help you solve the problems that every film encounters in the edit

Who it's for

The course is aimed at producers at all levels including Development Producers, Edit Producers, Series Producers, Producer Directors, Assistant Producers and anyone who wants to know more about how stories work in documentaries.

Additional Information

Peter Dale is the NFTS’s co-head of Documentary. He produced and directed documentaries for the BBC for 18 years before going to Channel 4 as Head of Documentaries. In 2005 Peter conceived and launched More4, Channel 4’s third digital channel. His own independent production company Rare Day produces quality documentary and drama for broadcasters and other distributors.

Number of places: 12
Duration: 5 days
Freelance Rate: £775
Corporate Rate: £1250

How To Apply

Please complete the application form to apply for a place on this course. 
Email or call us on 0141 422 6461 if you need assistance with your application.

Bursary Information

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. Once you have applied for your course, bursary applications should be submitted, along with a diversity monitoring form, to Please see the individual course details for bursary deadlines. 

NFTS Scotland Bursary Guidelines

NFTS Scotland Bursary Application Form

NFTS Scotland Diversity Monitoring Form