How You Can Partner With Brands To Make Your Documentary

Hosted by Deborah Riley Draper


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Deborah Riley Draper

Webinar hosted by: Deborah Riley Draper

Award-Winning Filmmaker

Deborah Riley Draper is a compelling and award-winning filmmaker. Deborah is currently directing the A&E four-part James Brown docu-series SAY IT LOUD, produced by Academy Award winner Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson and Mick Jagger, slated to air May 2023. In 2021, Deborah wrote and directed two documentaries about seminal moments in American history. Her docu-series, The Legacy of Black Wall Street, a two-episode special on OWN/Discovery+, beautifully and candidly told the story of the pioneering community of Greenwood, airing 100 years to the day of the brutal massacre. This project earned Deborah a 2022 NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Breakthrough Creative -Television, marking her 3rd nomination. Also, in 2021, Deborah released Twenty Pearls, the first original documentary to be acquired by Comcast's Black Experience Channel. The full-length documentary featured Vice-President Kamala Harris and shed light on the rarely recognized history of America's first black Greek-letter sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Full Bio »

Webinar Summary


Your chance to learn from a documentary filmmaker who's worked with Questlove, Mick Jagger, Vice President Kamala Harris, and more!

Plus! Receive exclusive handouts to asses partnerships from Deborah! 

Did you know that brands big and small often subsidize the making or distribution of documentary films of all genres and lengths? They do. It's an incredibly valuable opportunity for you, as a filmmaker, to get what you need to complete your project and share it with the world. 

These brand partnerships can generate valuable resources for documentary production, including publicity, funding, and access to people.

So how do you create a partnership with a brand or an organization? How do you choose which brands makes this right partners? What should a brand partnership even look like for your film? Stage 32 is here to teach you all about it.

In this exclusive Stage 32 webinar, you’ll identify the impact you hope your film will make and dive into discovering how to tie your mission to a brand, partner, or organization to help bring your documentary to life.

Marketing leaders and brand teams seek innovative partnerships to reach their audiences. This means that brands are increasingly becoming interested in activations that align their mission with content that can positively impact the communities they serve. And this brand interest is your project’s opportunity.

Your host, Deborah Riley Draper, is a compelling and award-winning filmmaker who is currently directing the A&E four-part James Brown docu-series SAY IT LOUD, produced by Academy Award-winner Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and Mick Jagger.

Riley previously made the docu-series THE LEGACY OF BLACK WALL STREET, which earned her a third NAACP Image Award nomination. She also released TWENTY PEARLS, a documentary featuring Vice President Kamala Harris, OLYMPIC PRIDE AMERICAN JUSTICE, and VERSAILLES ‘73: AMERICAN RUNWAY REVOLUTION, which opened New York Fashion Week in 2012.

Deborah’s success is tied to her ability to know her message, determine what partnerships best align with that message, and lock those partnerships down by knowing your documentary’s potential return on investment, even if that return isn't financially motivated.

In addition to providing you with exclusive handouts to asses potential partnerships, Deborah will show you how to find like-minded partners, how to create a blueprint for your partnership, and the legal aspects of these relationships.

With such an incredible background, Deborah provides invaluable information for filmmakers like yourself. Don’t miss out on learning how a partnership can support your message in this exclusive webinar.

Praise for Deborah's Talent & Knowledge:

"​​I have had the pleasure of working with Deborah and must say that she's one of the most talented, innovative, multifaceted people I've ever known. She has a ravenous appetite for understanding a challenge from every angle, but also the rare ability to discern exactly what (and where) to focus on to solve it. She is not bound by channels, attitudes, dogmas or barriers--she finds a way to break through it all, always with a human perspective, and weave a compelling story that people can't help jumping into with both feet." -- Laura Davis Taylor, Brand Marketer

What You'll Learn


  • What is Your Vision for the Project?
  • Who and What are you trying to Impact?
  • Who cares?


  • What is a partner? Is it the same as a sponsor? Why does it matter?
  • Who are the potential Partners that are already interested in my topic or interested-adjacent?
  • Identifying the Partners That Make Sense
  • What do partners want? How can I figure that out?
  • What do I want from my partner?
  • How to balance integrity, accountability and voice in partnerships negotiations


  • What is my real budget?
  • What are my priorities?
  • What should I put in my deck? What’s a deck?
  • What are the 5 types of partners?
  • Two Case Studies of Documentary Partnerships


  • Assessing the key aspects of the partnership
  • Identifying both parties needs and expectations
  • Understanding the respective roles and the level of involvement desired for both parties
  • Finding synergy and how to work as a team.
  • When a potential partner could be a risk


  • What are the legal aspects of Partnership?
  • No handshakes and who cuts the check
  • Identifying the managers on both sides and assessing bandwith



  • Measuring ROI
  • Creating long-lasting partnerships
  • 10 Ways to go the extra mile

Q&A with Deborah

About Your Instructor

Deborah Riley Draper is a compelling and award-winning filmmaker. Deborah is currently directing the A&E four-part James Brown docu-series SAY IT LOUD, produced by Academy Award winner Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson and Mick Jagger, slated to air May 2023. In 2021, Deborah wrote and directed two documentaries about seminal moments in American history. Her docu-series, The Legacy of Black Wall Street, a two-episode special on OWN/Discovery+, beautifully and candidly told the story of the pioneering community of Greenwood, airing 100 years to the day of the brutal massacre. This project earned Deborah a 2022 NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Breakthrough Creative -Television, marking her 3rd nomination. Also, in 2021, Deborah released Twenty Pearls, the first original documentary to be acquired by Comcast's Black Experience Channel. The full-length documentary featured Vice-President Kamala Harris and shed light on the rarely recognized history of America's first black Greek-letter sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.


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