The Dawn of South Of Scruffy Podcast: “Perfect” – The Enemy of “Deployed”

by | Aug 17, 2020

Since the moment I began creating, I’ve always wanted my art to be perfect.  Whether I was acting in a play, editing a video, or taking a still photo; I always put in 100% effort and never considered something finished until it was EXACTLY where I wanted it to be artistically.  That is the same approach I took when I set out to create South of Scruffy.  I painstakingly obsessed over every detail for nearly 2 years before I recorded the first episode.  The title; the audience; the format; the music; the artwork…”It all HAS to be perfect”.  

In 2019, as the SOS rubber began to meet the road, I began to realize that “perfect” would be the enemy of “deployed”.  So as the launch date of January 1st, 2020 began to creep up on me, I had to admit that my perfectionism had kept me from creating all of the assets I needed to launch a viable, professional-level podcast.

With the waning days of 2019 passing by quickly, I had a launch date that was coming up in a few days, and I had everything finished except the album artwork.  I had interviewed many visual artists about doing the artwork for the podcast, but the designer I wanted was booked for months out-and he was going to be very expensive.  

After obsessing over this podcast for so long, I decided that it was time to just get. it. out. there. – whether it was up to my standards or not.  I have to credit Gary Vaynerchuk with hammering home this ideal with me over the last 5 years.  Gary V. subscribes to the idea that your audience doesn’t care if it sounds perfect, or looks perfect…the content is ALL that matters.  Since I first started using a visual art form to tell stories, I’ve always made sure to be proud of the work that I put out.  I’ll obsess over details, and make sure that it is as good as it can be before I say it’s done.  This is completely antithetical to Gary V.’s approach.  

As the launch date crept up, I had to dig deep, swallow a bit of pride, and admit Gary V. was right.  I quickly mocked up some album artwork in Apple Pages, and I scheduled the launch of Episode 1 of South of Scruffy Podcast for January 1st, 2020.  The artwork was, in a word, terrible.  My graphic design skills are not great, and it shows in the early artwork of the podcast.  BUT, as I came to find out…it didn’t matter.  People listened, and episode #1 had great numbers.  Most importantly though, I had broken the seal.  There was no turning back.  I was now on the hook to my listeners and myself to release an episode on Monday of every week.  Boom! Here we go.

I have released an episode every Monday for the last 33 weeks since publishing that fist episode that had the terrible artwork.  Around episode 3, a listener offered to help revamp the artwork and he did an amazing job.  But, I will say, the new , decidedly better artwork did not affect the listenership of the show.  Had I not fought my instinctual urge to not release the first episode until I had all of the details completely perfect, I would probably still have yet to release the first episode today; 33 weeks later.  Episode 1 was not perfect…but it was deployed – which was, in this case, all it needed to be in order to be effective.

Written By Ben Fields

Ben Fields is a Director, Cinematographer, and former actor who grew up working in film and television. Ben has met lots of interesting folks over the years – This is the place where he gets them to spill their stories.