Date: January 10, 2024

Time: 6.30 pm - 8.30 pm

Duration: 6 weeks

Level: Emerging |

Cost: €165 (€150 Members)

Online/In Person: Online

This course takes place on Wednesdays for 6 weeks.

Course Content

Where do great television, film and radio factual and documentary ideas come from and what are the key steps in developing, writing them and getting them made?

This course looks at the creative process from idea to pitch for documentary and factual (non-fiction) programme ideas. It is designed to give participants the tools to create a finished written and verbal pitch for their idea.

 It is suitable for emerging writers, established writers in different genres and those with a strong interest in an idea they feel could make a programme or series.

Course Outline

Session 1 Introduction to Ideas: What an idea is and how to find one. The power of understanding genres and their importance.

Session 2. Ideas development: Making it work – development of initial idea, research and interview skills.

Session 3 Best practice in proposal writing. Story basics: what are the elements we are looking for? The process of creating the narrative, from idea to treatment.

Session 4 How to write a short synopsis and a more detailed treatment from your proposal. How to write an elevator pitch – and how to pitch your idea verbally.

Session 5. Overview of the industry and opportunities for commissioning and funding. Overview of production process and crew roles. Participants submit their proposal, for feedback next week.

Session 6 Participants have the opportunity to pitch their self-generated idea verbally and will receive feedback.

During the course, Hilary will use some of her past work as case studies such as: Hearing Silence, about a professional musician who is losing her hearing. Art Behind Bars, a former convicted terrorist returns to the prison where he learnt to paint, this time to teach art. The Secret Artists, five unknowns attempt to get work accepted for the prestigious RUA Annual.

Course Outcomes

Participants will have a finished written and verbal pitch for their idea.


Hilary Fennell is an award-winning programme maker and journalist with extensive experience of working in television and radio as a series producer, writer and director. As a journalist, she has over twenty years’ experience in interviewing, writing and broadcasting, for various national media. So, she knows a story – and how to develop it – when she sees one. She lectures at IADT and Griffith College.

She also has a wealth of experience as a writer and producer of factual content, having worked on such diverse projects as the design series ‘Beyond The Hall Door’ and ‘‘Dermot Bannon’s USA Homes’ to the science series ’10 Things to Know About’ and the entertainment series ‘Ryan Confidential’.

Her most recent documentary ‘Art Behind Bars’, about the power of art, just aired on BBC. Hilary filmed convicted terrorist Stephen Greer returning to the prison where he learnt to paint, this time to teach art.

View Hilary’s website here: