Short course


This seminar-based course offers a broad and jargon-free insight into the workflow of media composers and the processes involved in creating music for film and TV. 

The course is intended as a safe space for working directors, producers and editors, whether or not they have worked with composers before, who are looking to improve their understanding of a crucial but often mysterious aspect of post-production.

The course will cover:

- An overview of the composition process and the tools involved
- A step-by-step look at the musical journey from initial concept, temp tracks, spotting, writing and demoing material right through to recording and the finished product.
- Working with your composer, avoiding temp-love and costly pitfalls!
- Who does what? The structure of a music department, key personnel and their roles.

By the end of this course, you will have a better understanding of how music for film and television is created and how scoring fits into your project timeline. Whether you work in fiction, factual, children’s programming or everything in between, this course aims to demystify the process of composers and encourage a closer creative bond with your composers during production.

An experienced performing and recording musician, John McFarlane is emerging as one of Scotland’s most exciting, versatile and creative media composers. Capable of crafting emotional, thrilling and atmospheric landscapes, John is equally experienced in writing for orchestra as he is in creatively manipulating audio for modern hybrid scores. 

John also records for other composers and has recently completed work on an upcoming animation Stardog and Turbocat, starring Bill Nighy, Gemma Arterton, Nick Frost and Luke Evans.

Fees and funding options

Fees for this course are as follows:

Freelance Rate: £165
Corporate Rate: £245

Bursaries, supported by the Scottish Government, are also 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 Friday 18th October 2019 at 5.30pm. 

NFTS Scotland Bursary Guidelines

NFTS Scotland Bursary Application Form

If you are not eligible for an NFTS Scotland bursary, please read our Alternative Funding Avenues document which points you in the direction of a few other places which may be able to help.

How to apply

Application deadline: Book Now

Please apply by completing the application form and sending a copy of your CV to