Jemma Moore, the 28-year-old Hong Kong born actor, who earlier this year played the role of Li in Tony Giglio’s Doom: Annihilation for Universal (now on Netflix and Amazon) has announced a second season of her podcast The HobbyCast.  The soon to be released podcast has two new co-hosts Amer Chadha Patel (The Third Day, Flack, The Windsors, Year of the Rabbit, Beecham House) and Carla McGlynn (Zombie Bashers, The Guards). Jemma also stars in Rob Savages Host, a new kind of horror movie on AMC Networks streaming service Shudder, that premiered on 30th July.  The film was shot during quarantine at the actors’ homes and adheres to social distancing rules with inventive ways to deliver the scares, stunts and surprises. Jemma spoke with The Fountain about being creative and challenged during lockdown.

TF: You’ve been very busy between the podcast and Host, how has the pandemic affected your creativity?

The pandemic was a roller coaster for my creativity. Not just the ups and downs but lots of loops and spins and being held upside down not knowing if you were going to move again and if it was going to be backwards or forwards. To start with everything was just at a stand still, the industry had shut down and I was definitely anxious of the uncertainty for what the future held. I focused on what I could, I created a sound booth/duvet fort for voice overs and was very lucky my voice over agent Yakety Yak Ltd were incredibly supportive and innovative at providing projects to work on. I had luckily recorded a backlog of podcast episodes so now had the time to edit them and focus on their release, whilst also planning a second season.

I was incredibly lucky to be able to film from the comfort of my home from the second part of lockdown as my group of friends came up with a prank that went viral and caught the eye of AMC’s online streaming service SHUDDER. We filmed a 57 minute horror film from home that is 100% on rotten tomatoes and has just been named one of TIME magazine’s ’17 Great Movies You may have Missed this Summer’ and one of Total Film’s best horror films of all time. Because the team behind HOST are all friends, we had a movie club (The Quarantine Movie Club) and also wrote short stories and shared anything we were creating at home. So before we started filming we were already trying to keep our creative juices flowing. Carla McGlynn (co-host of The Hobbycast) and myself started to have weekly video calls and were working our way through Julia Cameron’s The Artists Way, which led us to using our creative abilities in a number of ways. But there were also times when I just sat staring at the wall feeling blocked, watching endless amounts of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and just making cups of really bad coffee. 

TF: What have been the key challenges that you have faced with both, in this present situation?

There were a number of challenges to face with both the pandemic and my creativity. With the pandemic there was a lot of anxiety in the unknown, worry for the safety of those you loved, overwhelming sadness at the enormity of the suffering and loss, uncertainty of work as a freelancer, not able to get a timescale on how long this would last. You weren’t able to prepare for what was to come and that was something that I had dealt with in my line of work but had been heightened x100. I knew immediately that once I had taken care of my family, I had to look after my own mental health. In society we are always working, socialising and even resting, doing things at 100mph with anywhere in the world just a plane ride away. The pandemic (primarily lockdown) confined us to our homes and stopped everything. All of these challenges could get overwhelming and I certainly had to be mindful of this and learn to breathe and process what was going on, being incredibly kind to myself remembering to be present and take things hour by hour. I don’t think that this has changed much, currently the industry is still testing the water as to how they can go back to filming, there are auditions and voice overs coming through, but everyone is still being very cautious, quite rightly so. So the challenges that I have been facing are still the same and as new things arise I use the same template of self kindness and patience to navigate the situation taking it step by step. 

TF: It’s fantastic that you have been busy and creating during the pandemic, what inspired your work with both of these?

Thank you so much. The Hobbycast was inspired a few years ago when I would go to parties and talk to people I had just met and once we got past the standard and sometimes quite painful small talk I always liked to ask them about their hobbies. What was so brilliant was that I saw people’s faces light up when they spoke about them, because I knew it was something they had autonomy over, they had obviously grown to become passionate about and it was something that was there’s, or an expression of themselves. Of course at a party sometimes you can’t always ask a million questions because it can become quite intense for people, so I decided I wanted to start a podcast where I could do exactly that.

For HOST as I said I have been incredibly lucky that my friends are all incredibly creative, talented and driven people. Director Rob Savage and one of the writers Jed Shepherd approached myself and the other actresses after pranking us to pitch the idea that we shoot a horror movie from home on ZOOM. Because we trust and know how brilliant these guys are and because we weren’t currently tied down to any other work it was a no brainer. We didn’t expect it to get as big as it has done, but that has made it so magical because we just wanted to create something cool that we were proud of and the fact that, that has translated to audiences around the world has been amazing. 

TF: What is your plan for the remainder of the year, more podcasts?

I’m not sure we can plan too much in the current climate, if I am totally honest. So loosely, I am definitely going to be doing more of The Hobbycast with my co-hosts Amer Chadha Patel and Carla McGlynn. I will be pushing for more creative adventures and projects across the board. My comedy short film STALLING IT, which I co-created with Caroline Ward and our production company IT GIRLS PRODUCTIONS Ltd is currently on the film festival circuit. Once this has been on the circuit we will be pitching it as the pilot for our short form series IT GIRLS, which redefines the ‘it girl’ and challenges rigid social structures.  

Photo courtesy of Steve Ullathorne

For more on The Hobbycast click here.