The Ideas Factory: How to come up with and sell hit TV ideas


This course is eligible for bursary funding.

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This one day course will give delegates a thorough grounding in how to turn a theme, a thought or general idea, into a structured television idea that a broadcaster or online commissioner will understand and relate to. Course participants will leave with a tool kit in how to go about development – what needs to be done and when – leading to a coherent project ready to be written up as a compelling proposal or dynamic pitch. 

Delegates will be given a methodology on how to use: 

  • their antennae to find new content areas
  • brainstorm techniques to find new approaches and angles to existing content
  • storytelling techniques to produce compelling narratives
  • a range of development tools to ensure their project is structurally and visually as engaging as it possibly can be

Factual development team staff or factual programme makers of all production levels. We can also offer a bespoke version for development or production teams who would like to work together on a number of ideas.

Pre-requisites: all participants must have a factual or factual entertainment idea –preferably at a fairly embryonic stage - that they can bring with them and work on throughout the workshop.

- Introduction to Development

  • What makes development tough? Delegate discussion & review
  • Workshop objectives – development & tools & techniques to try out with your own ideas across the development process
  • Analyse a successful, recent treatment
  • Key elements of a ‘must buy’, commissionable idea

- Creative Brainstorming

  • When brainstorming techniques can be useful and how to use them in a disciplined and target-orientated way
  • Exercise: Quick brainstorm using one of your idea challenges or one supplied by the course tutor  (NB this idea could then be used in all the following exercises if the delegates prefer not to use their own)

- Evaluating ideas & finding the ‘story’

  • Criteria for making objectives decisions – is this idea worth developing?
  • The key elements of story: – character/incidents/conflict & resolution (Clip examples of current, successful factual shows from a variety of genres)
  • Exercise & Review – Finding the key story elements in your idea
  • Top Lines & Titles
  • Exercise – Write a number of top lines

- Structuring the ‘story’

  • Formats & Docs structures  (clips & scripts examples of current shows)
  • Story breakdown template example – acts/scenes/ and linkages, The narrative arc and subsidiary questions to ensure continuous audience engagement
  • Openings and the first thirty seconds – who what how
  • Exercise & Review – Structure an episode of your show (feedback in pairs)

Do I need to bring anything to the course?It’s advisable to bring a pen and some notepaper. Otherwise, all you need is a receptive mind and your energy and enthusiasm.Is lunch provided?We keep you replenished with teas, coffee, biscuits and fruit. We don’t provide lunch – although there are a number of sandwich shops, cafes, restaurants close by, as well as a supermarket.What if I have to cancel?If you cancel more than 10 working days before the course date, you will get a full refund. If you cancel with less notice, or once the course has been confirmed the full course fees are still due. We will however endeavour to get you onto to a future course as and when we have a spare space. Although this cannot be guaranteed and will usually involve you being offered the place at short notice, we have a great track record of making sure people get their training – even it takes a bit of time.

12 people.


10:00-17:30 (Please arrive at 09:15 for course induction.)


Cancellation Policy

Cancellations must be in writing and must be received at least 10 working days prior to the course date or the full fee will be charged. DV Talent reserves the right to cancel courses at any time (e.g. if there are insufficient enrolments) without liability, and delegates will be offered an alternative date or full refund. In booking a course, you are acknowledging you have read and accepted our Terms and Conditions.