The Piha surf is pounding; wind and rain are sweeping across the black sand. Usually, only the surfers brave this weather — but today there’s one, lone photographer, hunched into her jacket.
She’s waiting. Any moment now there’ll be a break in the weather. That’s when she’ll whip out her Sony A7SII camera and get the shots — waves, surfers, footprints on the sand, and the next on-coming rainband rushing across the bay.
Daisy Thor-Poet is the sole camera-crew, sound operator and director of Tinted Productions. And she will brave any conditions to get the footage for her latest documentary series, “Changemakers.”
Because, as she explains, “I had one day free in Auckland, so it was my only chance. I got soaking wet, but I got the shots… which ended up working perfectly.”
Tinted Productions: Passion meets Sustainability
Daisy’s business, Tinted Productions, is a brand-new video company based in Wellington. In a city where filmmakers abound, how does Daisy’s company stand out in a crowded space?
“Tinted Productions is all about making films that have a positive impact and that allow viewers to learn or discover something new.”
“I usually do films on subjects which can be important, but sometimes controversial…so people can learn about these subjects and form their own opinions.”Daisy Thor-Poet
Strong words. But with Tinted Productions you don’t just get films. You get passion, creativity, talent and professionalism all wrapped up in one, 22-year old package.
Tinted Productions may be less than a year old, but Daisy already has ten years of film experience under her belt.
“How can that be?” you ask?
Let’s take a trip back in time to 2012 and Daisy’s very first award-winning production.
That Very First Film.
Daisy was just 12-years old at Garston School when she and her Dad, Zeke, spotted an ad for the Panasonic Kid Witness News annual film competitions.
She had no experience — and not even a camera for filming — but Daisy decided to enter. She wrote a storyboard and submitted it to the NZ board. Sure enough, they liked Daisy’s ideas and selected her as one of ten contestants to go on and make their films.
“KWN gifted me this little HD handheld handycam. It’s what I shot all my films on until I went to uni.”
Garston School was bursting with pride; we thought the film was terrific. It was, too, for a first effort — and it won a camera for Daisy and another for the school.
But Daisy Thor-Poet was just getting started. The next year, she moved to Mt Aspiring College in Wanaka and kept filming.
Panasonic KWN competitions
“KWN (Kid Witness News) is a global video education program supported by Panasonic, with the aim of boosting creativity and communication skills and fostering teamwork through video production by children at the primary and secondary school levels.”https://www.panasonic.com/global/corporate/kwn.html
Daisy embraced the KWN aims and created films about important topics with a teen focus. Grief, loss, adoption — she tackled significant issues in a way that teenage girls, as well as adults, could relate to.
And, she hit the KWN big time in 2013 with her very next production. “Forever Emily”, told the story of a young girl who reconciles her grief over losing her best friend.
“Forever Emily” won the New Zealand competition but it didn’t stop there. The film went all the way to the world competitions — and took Daisy along for the ride.
That year, she flew to Singapore for the Oceania awards and then to Paris where KWN arranged tours and activities for their young filmmakers. And just like the Oscars, Daisy had to front up with an acceptance speech. It was an unforgettable experience.
Not one to rest on her laurels, Daisy found she couldn’t stop making films. So, she wrote a story around the theme of adoption and, once more, sent it into KWN.
“Searching For Summer” went on to win Daisy trips to Vietnam and New York, where she won the global KWN Best Storytelling award.
It was fantastic to win and to travel so far. But these international trips were also cementing bonds between the next generation of filmmakers. Through this competition, Daisy has Czech, Malaysian and American friends who have gone on to film careers, too.
As she says, “It’s great having people from all over the world that share the same passion.”
Bachelor of Screen Arts, SIT
It’s no wonder Daisy was hooked on filmmaking, but there was a lot to learn. So, when she left Mt Aspiring College, Daisy headed to the Southern Institute of Technology in Invercargill to start a Bachelor of Screen Arts degree.
“I knew that to become a professional I needed to learn the skills. How to do lighting, how to set up a camera, how to do editing on proper software, how to analyse different movies and shots. All the stuff I didn’t know before.”
Going to film school taught me the technical side and knowledge so I could move forward.”
Move forward she did, entering — and winning — several more awards along the way.
And On To Wellington
But, it takes more than winning a few film competitions or even completing a degree to make it in the film industry. Daisy needed work experience, and that’s what she got.
Right after graduating, she joined a Netflix crew in Queenstown, working in the camera department to film “The Letter for the King.” Then she made the big move to Wellington. For a year she worked for other production companies and filmed under her own name as well.
But, Daisy had the vision and the drive to be her own boss; to be the creative director and make films on projects which fascinated her. So, in 2020, right before Covid 19 turned the world upside down, Daisy formed her very own film company, Tinted Productions.
Tinted Productions started small but strong.
“I was doing a bit of work for clients. Concert recordings, music videos… I worked on the World of Wearable Arts Campaign that they did with Wellington Airport last year. That was a great one. I was also part of the film crew for the Wellington Fun Run around the Bays for Fiji Airways who were one of the sponsors. That was earlier this year”.
Then came the Covid lockdown. And, like many-a creative, Daisy put the time to good use.
“The positive of lockdown was that I was able to plan and come up with the ‘Everyday Changemakers’ series. If lockdown hadn’t happened then I think that series definitely wouldn’t have happened. I planned and did all the pre-production during lockdown and as soon as we came out I started production and filming with the clients.”
The Changemakers Series
Tinted Productions’ Changemaker Series highlights six Kiwi groups making a difference in the world. Some are businesses; others are registered charities. All have a mission to create lasting, positive changes in their spheres of interest.
It’s the logical next step for Daisy and Tinted Production’s vision to highlight the stories that matter, to create awareness and to get people thinking and talking about important, controversial issues.
Tinted Productions Is A 26-hour A Day Job:
At the moment TP is a one-man-band.
“I do all the business side of it,” says Daisy.
“I pitch the client and then I do all the planning and logistics – how we’re going to make this happen. I organise dates to do the filming. Write interview questions and make a plan about what I want to capture in this documentary.”
Daisy uses a run-and-gun style of filming for the Changemaker Series. It lets her go with the flow and see what happens. It also means that the footage you see isn’t staged.
“It’s all authentic what I capture. It shows the true nature of these companies and people.”
“I travel to the business and spend a day or two filming, capturing everything that I need. After that, come back to the office, start editing.”
Editing is a painstaking process, as any filmmaker will tell you. All that footage filmed — and only a fraction makes the final cut. Everything has to be sequenced, tightened. Then you find the music, create the credits, and work the magic on Premiere Pro (Daisy’s editing software of choice.)
Finally, Daisy gets the okay from her client to release their video to the public. That’s when she dons her social media hat and gets to work on marketing.
“In the future I hope that I can have other people as part of the company and help me with that. Because it’s a lot of work for one person. But I love doing it all and it’s what I’m passionate about.”
Most companies start small, with a dream and a mission.
Tinted Productions may be a one-woman-band right now; however, Daisy’s dream is for her business to grow. And to keep making videos on the stories that matter.
Documentaries which challenge preconceptions, alert us to problems and show solutions that end up changing lives.
Contact Daisy at
Have you read these Garston School stories on TOML?
Can you spot a young Daisy Thor-Poet at Robert Town?