If a TV network needs a hit show, their first call is probably to Lemuel Plummer. As the creator and/or producer of ten television series to date, one would never, ever guess Plummer was under 30. Typically, rising in the ranks in the field of TV and film production is a slow climb.
While many young professionals in their 20s are still trying to find themselves, Plummer’s path was almost predestined from birth as the son of parents who own several local TV networks in Michigan and throughout the south. By the time Plummer was a teenager, he knew how to shoot and edit TV segments. He continued to hone his skills during his tenure at the renowned media college Full Sail University.
During this time, Plummer went above and beyond what was required of him as an unpaid intern on set of the ABC series “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”. In the midst of numerous interns and production staff, he left an indelible mark on the show’s producers who then paid Plummer for his time as well as gifted him with a plethora of equipment.
Plummer shares that while on set of the series, he always wondered how he could bypass the grunt work of being a production assistant to get to the next level. “The response was, ‘you just have to work your way up.’ Well the way Plummer’s ambitions were set up, that wasn’t a sufficient answer! When asked why there aren’t more young African American’s in similar positions of power, Plummer attributed it to the fact that many people in Hollywood, “…Have all of these ideas in their heads but few people put in the work to create something tangible.”
Armed with the entrepreneurial takeaways from Robert Kiyosaki’s book “Rich Dad Poor Dad” as well as the inspirational sermons of Pastor Joel Osteen, Plummer set out to put action behind his ambitions and he began shooting and editing sizzle reels to pitch to networks.
Now 21-years-old at the time, Plummer, his three-piece-suit and his former business partner struck out during their first round of network pitches which included a series with his friend and actor Brandon T. Jackson, who was a rising star in Hollywood following the success of his film “Tropic Thunder”.
With his youthful looks, Plummer reveals how he had to push past feeling intimidated when he would walk into a pitch meeting. “I used to be fearful but I had to get over it because many of the people you meet that are executives are older Caucasian men and women. They’re there to listen but whether or not they’re going to take you seriously and buy something? That’s always been the challenge.”
After the initial let down, just when he was ready to give up, Plummer’s then manager was able to get him a meeting with BET’s former President of Original Programming, Loretha Jones, who was impressed by the quality of his reel and his work ethic. At the youthful age of 22, Plummer went from being a broke, recent grad who was living with his brother and sister-in-law to an executive producer with an overall deal at BET worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Plummer hit the ground running when BET green lit his series, “Vindicated” which documented the lives of wrongfully convicted inmates. He also produced on a string of popular series for the network including “The Mo’Nique Show” and “The Family Crews”.
After BET, Plummer was ready to broaden his horizons and he partnered with several production companies including Entertainment One (EOne) in their early stages and helped to build their portfolio of reality series through producing the hit series, “Mary Mary” and “The Sheards”.
Next up for Plummer, now 25, was establishing a full service production company. In addition to handling the pitching and production aspects of things, his business, L. Plummer Media would also be responsible for the financial and legal aspects of bringing a TV series to fruition.
While some people are simply creative and falter when it comes to numbers and logistics, even with the added pressure of a full-service production company on his plate, Plummer continued to thrive.
With the newly formed L. Plummer Media, his next professional win along side producer and Merge Summit Founder, Holly Carter, was creating the wildly successful, “Preachers” franchise which included “Preachers of LA” and it’s spin-off series, “Preachers Of Detroit” and “Preachers of Atlanta”. Prior to the series landing at the Oxygen Network, Plummer reveals that the pitch presentation was so impressive, it created a bidding war amongst several networks and he had the choice of upwards of seven offers for the series. “I knew I had to have a certain confidence and I knew I had to let the tape speak for itself. That was my strategy–no matter what they say about me, they can judge me but the presentation and the hard work will speak for itself.”
Plummer was also the man behind the BET docu-series “Music Moguls” which featured a rare look into the personal and professional lives of rap icons Damon Dash, Snoop Dogg, Jermaine Dupri and Birdman. To be able to galvanize that calibre of talent in one show speaks to the power of Plummer’s influence in the television industry and BET’s President Of Programming, Stephen Hill, green lit the series over a phone call with Plummer.
With no signs of slowing down in the new year, Plummer recently announced that he’s currently in preproduction on a new scripted series entitled, “The Roc”. Akin to the critically acclaimed FX mini-series, “The People Vs OJ Simpson”, he’s working with none other than “Music Moguls” star Damon Dash to tell the untold stories of the rise and fall of the music dynasty that was Roc-A-Fella Records, which was founded by Dash, Jay Z and Kareem Burke in 1996. On the magnitude of his next endeavour, Plummer shared, “I’m very excited about this project. I believe it’s gonna change the game not only for L. Plummer Media but for TV and the music business.”
As he nears his 30th birthday, the young mogul shows no signs of slowing down. In addition to “The Roc” he’s continuing to up the ante with a forthcoming project that’s slated to air on MTV as well as a project with “How To Get Away With Murder” star Viola Davis and her company, JuVee Productions.
To stay up to date with Lemuel and L.Plummer Media, visit: lplummermedia.tv Instagram and Twitter @LemuelPlummer