Nicola Lees

Nicola Lees

Talent Development &

  • Location: London
  • Career stage: Experienced
  • Freelancer: Unavailable

I specialise in developing ideas and people across film and television.

I've originated, written and pitched proposals for award-winning documentaries, docu-dramas and interactive TV events for a range of UK channels including the BBC and Sky Arts. I also spent two years in NYC, pitching lifestyle formats to the US cable market.

Since 2009 I've run, a website that provides industry intelligence to help TV professionals and aspiring filmmakers get their programme ideas commissioned.

I've written two books to help filmmakers understand development, commissioning and funding: 'Greenlit: Developing Factual / Reality TV Ideas From Concept to Pitch' (2010) and 'Give Me the Money and I'll Shoot! Finance Your Factual TV/Film Project' (2012).

I've also contributed to:
'Trailer Mechanics: A Guide to Making Your Documentary Fundraising Trailer' by Fernanda Rossi
'The TV Presenter's Career Handbook: How to Market Yourself in TV Presenting' by Kathryn Wolf
'Competition, Gender and Management: Beyond Winning and Losing' by Jane Dennehy

And I've had interviews/articles published in industry publications including
Televisual Magazine, Broadcast, The Stage and MovieScope.

I've produced the industry panels for Televisual's Intelligent Factual Festival (2010), and am a regular speaker at universities and film festivals (Sheffield Doc/Fest, Open City Docs Fest, Northern Nights Film Festival, Televisual Intelligent Factual Festival, Broadcast Video Expo, Italian Doc Screenings, Dragon Forum). I've also spoken on best practice in mentoring at the Gender Equality in the Audiovisual Sector conference at the European Broadcasting Union in Brussels.

I currently run a prestigious mentoring scheme for WFTV aimed at mid-career level women, and an innovative new talent career development scheme for Sara Putt Associates based at Shepperton Studios.

Work History

New Talent, Training, Events - Sara Putt Associates

Dec 2012 - Present

WFTV Mentoring Scheme - Women in Film and Television

Jul 2010 - Present

Founder & Editor -

Oct 2008 - Present

Head of Development - BBC NY Production

Jul 2005 - Jun 2007

Head of Science Development - BBC

Feb 2002 - Jul 2005


Media with Cultural Studies - BA (Hons): First Class - Southampton Solent University

1994 - 1997


  • Digital content skills
  • Networking
  • Organisational skills
  • Pitching/presenting and proposal writing