Norfolk, 12, serves as face of the Children’s Games
LAKE PLACID — John Morgan and Lincoln Norfolk did a table read of Wednesday’s events for the International Children’s Games. They highlighted the snowstorm, alpine skiing at Whiteface and an upcoming hockey match between Beijing and Lake Placid.
When they were finally ready to start filming, Norfolk took his place in front of the green screen and stood up straight for the camera. Some of his lines didn’t come out correctly at first.
“It’s alright. Just take your time and don’t rush it,” Morgan said.
For the past few days, Morgan and Norfolk have been working together as media coverage for the 2019 International Children’s Games, an event that invited more than 400 student-athletes from 14 different countries to Lake Placid to compete in various winter sports. The video recaps are emailed to the student-athletes and their delegations, and some extra b-roll is sent to local broadcast stations.
From the beginning, Morgan said he wanted to get kids involved in the production.
“It’s the Children’s Games,” he said. “When it was presented to me last April, I said there’s got to be children commentators.”
Morgan is a veteran bobsled commentator and has worked on 10 Winter Olympics with broadcast companies such as ABC, CBS and NBC.
Initially, Morgan wanted the media coverage for the ICG to be more ambitious with multiple kids attending various sporting events, shooting photos and conducting interviews. He later realized that would’ve been a little too big of a project and condensed it down to one child, Norfolk, doing recaps of each day’s events.
As of recent, people might recognize Norfolk as the kid on the Jumbotron at the Olympic Center during the opening ceremony of the ICG.
“I didn’t get into the broadcast business till I was 30,” Morgan said, “and this kid’s got all this stuff when he’s 12.”
Morgan said a project like this helps encourage communication and digital literacy skills among a younger crowd.
“Kids are all very digitally capable today,” he said. “Everybody is an expert on their phones and Xboxes. They’re far more technologically advanced these days. Plus, you can just Google a lot of things, like, ‘how do I record a video?’ It’s self-taught. That wasn’t available years ago. The kids today have a different experience than the previous generation.”
Norfolk said he’s enjoyed his time with Morgan, learning how to have better camera presence and conduct interviews.
“It’s been pretty cool,” he said. “I like shooting videos and doing media stuff. Doing this is kind of like the next step up for me.”
Locals might know the 12-year-old Norfolk as the director, writer and editor of the short film “Finding Home,” which was screened at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts in June 2018. The movie follows the relationship between a young boy and his dog, and its ticket sales raised more than $750 for LPCA and the Joshua Fund, an organization that rescues dogs that have been abused or that live in high-kill shelters.
Despite a few hiccups, Norfolk successfully delivered the recap in about 10 minutes. He used his hands when reading lines, stayed focused on the camera and put appropriate emphasis on his sign-off. He even ad-libbed a bit.