Beyond Bounds: Star Skater + Video Production Phenom = Carolyn Draayer
Sports Fan Insider
I laughed at the use of “possibly” and “try.”
“My goal is to possibly try to get hired at a studio or a video production house,” Carolyn Draayer said.
It was a preposterous statement because the Gustavus junior’s innate knack for video production should inevitably have studios hustling to try and get her on board.
See for yourself. The promotional video below was produced for the Gophers men’s hockey program by the pros at Elite Edge Productions.
Now, here’s Draayer’s version for her D-III powerhouse Gusties women’s squad, with a collaborative hat tip to Dan Coquyt.
It took the junior 10 hours to shoot it – including a 1 a.m. ice time slot due to hectic rink schedules – and yet another 10 hours to edit. And her camera-wielding skill set’s so sharp, the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference has even commissioned her talents.
Oh, and she’s also whipped up a series of Be The Difference segments for GAC winter sports programs, taking viewers on an ephemeral journey within an athlete’s mind (with an editing assist from Ethan Armstrong).
Draayer creates the copy after extensive interviews with the star athlete, and though the voiceovers flirt with platitudes, they still come off genuine.
My favorite is the men’s basketball rendition.
But wait, there’s more.
As part of her 20-hour-a-week gig at Gustavus’ Office of Marketing and Communication, she’s spearheading an innovative Day in the Life project, shadowing several undergrads to give potential GAC applicants an inside perspective of what it’s actually like to be a Gustie.
When she’s not behind the lens, she’s skating for one of the nation’s best D-III hockey programs.
Last year, GAC took fourth at the NCAA tourney, and she finished fourth on the team with 13 goals and 7 assists. In her collegiate career, Gustavus has been 34-1-1 in the MIAC, and she’s been named a National Scholar Athlete by the American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA).
Quite an extensive resume for an undergrad, right? We’re just getting started.
Here are six reasons why she was voted Most Inspirational Player by her own teammates.
She’s never experienced the mythical term “free time”
VP of Marketing for Gustavus Women in Leadership? Check.
Gustie Greeter, helping be the face of the school for incoming students? You bet.
Writing encouraging notes to teammates before games on Ghirardelli chocolate? What a sweetie.
Leading the team’s Bible study alongside Leah Johnson and Mel Doyle? Amen.
It’s always been about hockey – even before she turned 1
“My parents have been taking me to men’s Gopher hockey games since I was six months old,” she said.
And she’s all about the hockey community at Gustavus.
“What has formed over the past couple years has been incredible,” she said. “That’s one of the reasons I’ve been so eager to make videos for my team.”
She may be the most appreciative, thankful and self-aware athlete I’ve met
I made the mistake to ask “Who are your influences/who are you thankful for?”
It’s safe to say that if you’ve ever teamed up with, taught, or have ever just been around Draayer, she most certainly mentioned you. I would try to list them all, but it would probably end up breaking the Internet.
She expects success
The team lost five serious contributors from last year’s squad – including the unparalleled Lindsey Hjelm – but the program hasn’t lost its annual ambitions.
“We take things one game at a time, but making it to the postseason is our goal,” she said. “I think we have a good shot. We just have some growing to do as a team between now and the playoffs.”
She was making videos before you mastered your multiplication tables
She grew up on Rodgers and Hammerstein staples such as “Sound of Music.”
Draayer’s mother, Karen, garnered Mother of the Year honors, too, as she would type up original stories Draayer would create and dictate into a tape recorder.
And those stories were always supposed to turn into movies because videos have always been at the center of Draayer’s focus.
“My first video was for the fifth grade imagination fair when I was 9,” she said, crediting her creativity to maternal influences. “My best friend and I decided to make a bad driving habits video in the car. I have always liked having a camera in my hand.”
Some of her best videos aren’t public, either, but are comical behind-the-scenes candid footage of her teammates that keeps the squad loose, while simultaneously bringing them closer.
“Seeing people show joy or excitement about my videos — that’s super rewarding,” said Draayer, who finds inspiration in “Saturday Night Live” and “The Daily Show” programming. “That’s what makes all the time and hours worth while.”
A coach and a cook?
“Lately I’ve done a lot of coffee cake – my grandma has an amazing recipe,” she said. “I love making chocolate chip cookies and banana bread.”
The past few summers have seen Draayer coaching via Minnetonka’s offseason camps, working with skaters from ages 8 to 15.
“Working with kids is the most rewarding thing in the world,” she said. “When I go home, I get to catch their games and they’ve gotten so much better over the years.”