Todd Mayfield: The man behind the teleprompter
Sunday, February 10, 2013
Todd Mayfield’s view of Missouri’s State of the State was quite different than anyone else’s. He had the honor of turning the teleprompter for Gov. Nixon as Missouri’s 55th leader delivered his address.
“It’s an honor that the governor can pick anyone, but he picks me,” Mayfield said.
Mayfield has operated the teleprompter for nine State of the State addresses, two inaugurations, several opening day ceremonies for the General Assembly and a few other speaking engagements.
“It’s really a unique opportunity because it gives me the chance to be exposed to government goings on,” he said
Mayfield has worked as an IT person for the Office of Administration’s Information Technology Services Division for nearly 22 years and calls himself a “computer hack.”
For him, running the teleprompter is something extra.
“It’s actually quite nerve wracking, which is weird because I’m just turning the knob,” he said. “It takes constant adjusting, and there’s quite the adrenaline rush.”
Mayfield said a lot of preparation and practice goes into running the teleprompter for one night. He said a typical State of the State address takes more than a dozen drafts to perfect.
“He (the governor) practices with the teleprompter and finds things that don’t read well,” Mayfield said. “While I sit there, they go through the creative process of rewriting.”
Mayfield said they began practicing Nixon’s State of the State on the Friday before the event and practiced it more on Saturday and Sunday.
“The hardest part is each time they send me the latest draft in (Microsoft) Word, and I go through it line by line so it reads well on the teleprompter,” Mayfield said. “I try to format the speech so it reads well on the screen.”
Mayfield said speech night is quite stressful, but he’s given a unique perspective to be able to sit on the House floor in a joint session.
“Each time, you never know if you’ll be back again,” he said.