Where does the name “Red Clay Pictures” come from?

I grew up on a farm in North Alabama, and the soil there is red clay.

Do you make anything besides documentaries?

Yes. Red Clay Pictures produces other types of videos (e.g. corporate, personal, family history) for various clients, though almost all deal with “reality” and documentary production techniques. If you would like to discuss a project, please contact Cliff Vaughn.

How do you define documentary?

My favorite definition comes from famed documentary filmmaker John Grierson. He said documentary was “the creative treatment of actuality.” That’s at least a place to start arguing.

Why do you like making documentaries?

When you make a documentary, you have to pay attention. You spend time with fascinating people. You move through phases of working alone and with others. You find ways to solve problems. You explore something maybe no one else has. You find and help tell a story.

What are some of your memorable experiences making documentaries?

Waiting with Benedictine monks for a coffin delivery. Finding long-lost 8mm film of the day a couple met. Encountering a lost migrant on the trails of the Sonoran Desert. Framing a shot to include a Jefferson statue, church spire and American flag. Interviewing my parents about their time in Germany. Changing a battery while Jimmy Carter waited. Trying on John’s “thermal incinerator” costume. Being approached by security at the Supreme Court … and U.S. Capitol … and Oklahoma City Memorial … and Tennessee Prison for Women … and …

Who are some of your favorite documentary filmmakers?

James Marsh, Alex Gibney, Lucy Walker, Errol Morris, Ken Burns, Barbara Kopple, Albert Maysles, Robert Drew.