take as long as it takes
LH: Just under two years. I had a cut ready for the 2007 Sundance deadline and I was about submit it, but I didn’t feel strongly that it was the film I wanted to present. A friend of mine said to me: “Don’t show anybody anything until it’s perfect. Take as long as it takes. You only get one chance.” Those words were looming large at that time, so I decided to pull back and take a full year to re-edit and submit to the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. The film completely changed, totally transformed.
RS: Could you say what the other possible Ballasts you created along the way look like?
LH: Some of them are horrific. That’s the difficult thing about directing and then editing: you’re locked away in a room with a bunch of bad material. Only filmmakers understand that most of what you record is shit. And then you spend two years constantly looking at stuff that’s failed miserably. And in the end you whittle it down to only what works. Still, in your brain you’re thinking, “God this film is horrible.” If anyone gets a hold of my hard drive, I’m finished.
from an interview w/ lance hammer, dir. ballast, 2008