Persuasive Proposal Writing for TV Producers and Documentary Filmmakers

, Founder/Editor

Add to Cart $30
Get 20% off with Membership

Save 20% With Membership

Become a member to get unlimited access to hundreds of select classes and 20% off all other online classes.

Learn More

Class Project

Write a Professional One-Page Proposal for a Non-Fiction TV Show or Documentary

About the Class

Do you have a documentary or reality TV idea that you want to pitch, but don’t know where to start? Or have you tried to pitch your ideas but failed to get any traction? Perhaps you are working in TV Development for the first time and no-one has explained what a good proposal looks like (and you are too embarrassed to ask)? Or are you unsure about the difference between a proposal and a treatment?

Whether you are working for a global ‘super-indie’ production company or are an independent filmmaker with a passion project there are some simple proposal writing principles that will increase your chances of attracting channel executives and investors. These principles are the same wherever you are in the world, and whichever TV commissioner, funder or buyer you are pitching to and the examples I use are international.

This course will show you, step-by-step, how to craft a compelling one-page written proposal that will catch the eye of executive producers, commissioning editors and other funding bodies.

According to TV executives and other buyers of documentaries, producers and filmmakers consistently make elementary mistakes when pitching their ideas. This course reveals what they are and how you can avoid them. The key steps are simple to follow and implement – once you know what they are.

Once you've learnt - and practiced - the key principles you will be able to adapt and apply them to any kind of proposal you need to write.

You’ll learn the:

Three-Ps of the pitch and where the written proposal fits in Purpose of the written proposal Difference between a proposal and a treatment Essential elements of a successful proposal Structure that works for different types of TV show/documentaries Key mistakes that producers make when pitching - and how to avoid them

This course is based on what I've learned over 10+ years experience of writing and pitching science, history and arts documentaries, and travel and lifestyle formats in the UK and USA. My proposals have won commissions on the BBC, TLC, Discovery, Science, History, Sky Arts and Travel Channel.

The course is stuffed with practical tips, resource lists, sample proposals and exercises designed to boost your skills and help you write your own commission-winning proposals.

As part of the class you will receive a detailed project brief and you can choose to write a one-page proposal for one (or all) of the following, or a different genre of your choice:

  • An issue-driven documentary
  • A character-driven reality/observational documentary series
  • A landmark specialist factual (art, history, science,religion, natural history) series
  • A lifestyle / competition format

More Information

You don't need any prior experience to take this class. The only thing you need is a free Dropbox account in order to access some of the resources.

Level: Beginner

School: Film & Video

Related Subjects: Writing & Publishing, Film & TV, Pitching, Tv Series, Documentary

At a Glance

  • Non-Membership Class
  • 12 Video Lessons (1h 44m)
  • 126 Students
  • 100% Positive Reviews (3)
  • Self-Paced Online Class
  • 14-Day Money Back Guarantee

About the Teacher

Nicola Lees

Nicola Lees


Hi, I'm Nicola.I have developed hundreds of documentaries and lifestyle shows for network and cable channels in the UK and USA, including the BBC, Discovery Channel, Travel Channel and...

100% Positive Reviews

Carol Alexander

Carol Alexander

The class was exceptional in terms of taking you through the proposal writing process step by step. Interaction with Nicola is priceless. She was very supportive and provided honest ...

View all reviews