This is the only comprehensive vocational programme in script development in the UK.

“If you are fortunate enough to get a place - whether you are a producer, a writer, or a development exec – it’s an experience that will pay dividends in bucket-loads for your future career.” Graduate Adam Polonsky, Producer/Head of Development at Focus Films

This part-time, evening course takes place over 16 months and aims to give students all the skills and expertise they need to develop scripts for film and television.

Students get access to new screenwriters and regular industry speakers, as well as working on a practical development project with a screenwriter.

All NFTS students can attend the School’s masterclasses programme, with recent guests including Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk, The Dark Knight, Interstellar), Lynne Ramsay (You Were Never Really Here) and Armando Iannucci (The Thick of It, Veep, The Death of Stalin).

What you will study

The Diploma offers the most comprehensive contemporary overview and on-going practical learning in an intensive professional environment. The programme combines lectures, seminars and workshops alongside talks and panel discussions with current industry practitioners, as well as supervised practical work with a screenwriter.

There are continuous written assignments (some assessed, some not) throughout the taught section of the programme which are mostly practical and designed to be useful to a career in development, as well as other areas of the film industry.

The programme consists of 30 taught sessions of two hours each held during term-time on a weekday evening (from 7pm - 9pm) running from September to July. The Final Project element of the Diploma is a six-month supervised development project, which begins at the beginning of the summer when students are paired with a screenwriter. The delivery of all assessed material for the Final Project is due in December.


Download course outline


Current or recent tutors

Angeli Macfarlane

Angeli Macfarlane

Visiting tutor

Credits include Death of a President and I Am Slave

Ludo Smolski

Ludo Smolski

Senior tutor

Credits include Filth and Leave to Remain

Fees and funding options

Fees for this course are as follows:

Home/EU/EEA £6,000

This course is only open to UK and EU/EEA applicants.

A non-refundable deposit of £500 is required against the cost of your fees on confirmation of your place.

Students are expected to provide their own laptops.

The NFTS want to encourage applications from the brightest and best talent out there, whatever your background. We are actively seeking to redress imbalances within the Industry by encouraging applications from under-represented groups, and have bursaries of £1,500 on offer to five of the successful candidates.

Entry requirements

We are looking for people who:

  • Already work in development and feel they may benefit from a structured course in story theory and working practice in order to build their confidence and resources
  • Already work in the film industry and are keen to develop or hone their skills when working with scripts and writers, to get the best work from those writers
  • Are new producers keen to get an edge on finding and nurturing new writing talent
  • Have experience in other creative industries and would like to explore script development and believe that they can bring new experience and ideas to the process of developing scripts and cultivating writers
  • Have a passion for film, a love of storytelling, can demonstrate initiative, and have an enthusiasm for, and a commitment to, working collaboratively

While many applicants will have a degree from a British or overseas university, we will consider applicants who do not have a degree if they have an impressive portfolio, a creative track record or an alternative qualification.

If you are not an EEA National, you must already be in possession of a UK visa valid for the duration of this course.  We are unable to accept your application if you do not.

If you are not sure whether your experience or qualifications are appropriate, please ask the Registry for advice - info@nfts.co.uk.

How to apply

Application deadline: Contact Registry


The application deadline has now passed, please join our mailing list if you would like to be kept up to date with NFTS news and updates


Applicants must supply a short piece (750 words max) telling us about a film or TV drama you wish you had developed. Please include:

  • The reasons you have chosen this piece.
  • A brief description of the main story line and the protagonist’s story arc. 
  • Your ideas around what you think might have improved the script.