ELITE 2018 Disrupter Tyler James of Snow Companies

Tyler James

Senior Vice President, Video Production

Snow Companies

Revolutionizing Patient Films

Tyler James is the tip of the spear of an industry revolution that has combined two trends: The increase of video production as part of multichannel campaigns and the rise of patient centricity. The result—patient storytelling.

When Tyler joined Snow Companies to head the fledgling video department, he applied his extensive experience in network news and documentary production to tell authentic patient stories. But, this would require a different approach to traditional agency models than pharma was used to, which relied on scripted and acted content.

Big equipment trucks, crews of 20 or more people, and tight filming schedules might work for a fast food commercial with hired actors. But patient films require more TLC and something different: A productive ambiance that puts people at ease and allows them to be vulnerable and open. To achieve that, Tyler dismissed old notions of task specialization. He realized that technology advancements in high-end production equipment allowed for smaller, more versatile teams of professionals, whose specialization is not so much with discrete items of equipment but with content.

Tyler’s crews are capable of building connections with people. As a matter of routine, filming happens within the patient’s own four walls, and scenes are shot with real friends and family. Also, filming schedules are built around patient needs—allowing for later starts, ample breaks, shorter production days, and any other accommodations that show the patients how much they are a priority. Plus, his teams are experts in legal and regulatory guidelines that apply to the industry.

The competitive advantage gained by this strategy: His teams can produce noticeably higher-end films at lower costs. Now, smaller biotech companies can afford to explain their mission through meaningful and beautiful cinematography. This led to an explosion in video production and economies of scale.

Under Tyler’s leadership, Snow Companies has won 19 prestigious Telly Awards, running alongside household brands such as CBS, Comcast, Discovery Communications, Disney, ESPN, Fox, HBO, Microsoft, NBC, PBS, The History Channel, Time Warner, and Universal. Four Telly Award wins for Snow Companies were on the Silver level—the highest possible Telly commendation, which only 7% of entries achieve.

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