Nov 25 2021

Carina Green and Ryan Patch, (both MA Screenwriting for Film and TV alumni), recently launched a drama podcast called City of Ghosts. We recently caught up with them to discuss the drama, working in the industry and their time at Royal Holloway.

1. Can you tell us a bit about yourselves and what you studied at Royal Holloway?

Having both decided to study abroad, [we] met on the MA Screenwriting for Film and TV at Royal Holloway. 

Carina says, ‘I had always wanted to spend time studying abroad and I liked both the calibre of teaching offered by the Royal Holloway programme and the flexibility of it. Having the option to do  two-years part-time study with writing retreats allowed me to work while also pursuing my MA, something I could not have done on a more traditional programme (meaning I probably couldn’t have got my MA!)'.

The writing retreats were also a key aspect of the degree that attracted Ryan as it allowed him to ‘continue working and earning a living while simultaneously honing my screenwriting craft’.

2. What inspired you to go into creative storytelling?

This love of storytelling and collaborating with peers, has been a driving force in both Carina and Ryan’s careers. Ryan tells us that his favourite aspect about his work is ‘creating things with other people’. Carina has ‘always been fascinated by the power of stories. I spent most of my childhood in a tiny, rural town and often my imagination was my only escape. The beauty of stories is that there really are no limits to what you can come up with and put down on metaphorical paper. It’s just you and your mind and endless possibility. I love storytelling and have been excited to get to do it in so many different forms.’

3. What is ‘City of Ghosts’ about?

City of Ghosts is a neo-noir, supernatural drama set in 1999 New York City about power, corruption, and the things that haunt us. We follow Eleanor Rivikin, an information broker, as she investigates the murder of a journalist and grapples with abilities that she’s had since she was a child. 

4. When did you start working on the podcast?

We finished writing it in the spring of 2020, just as COVID-19 was starting to sweep across the country. That summer, we set out to record the podcast remotely, mailing recording kits to all our cast and holding sessions over Zoom. Then, after about a year and a half in post-production, it’s finally out there in the world!

5. What advice would you give to inspiring writers?

Carina stresses ‘be patient and be persistent. This can be a tough, competitive industry, and forging a career in it can be a slow climb rather than a sprint. Sometimes progress felt impossible, but the important thing is to not give up. If this is really what you love, then keep writing and keep pursuing opportunities. Eventually, you’ll get your breakthrough.’ 

Ryan also emphasises the need for authenticity in creating new work. He says, ‘Think a lot about what makes you you. There are certain stories that only you can tell, and you should focus on those. I spent many years trying to imitate other greats in the cinema industry, only to realize that I am not them and that I would have much better luck with trying to be myself.  The world needs your story, not you doing an impression of someone else’s story.

6. What did you enjoy most about studying at Royal Holloway?

Carina always knew she wanted to write but ‘didn’t have a set career path or goals beyond that. I wanted to learn how to write better, that was my main ambition. Before I joined the programme, I had never even written a feature film script. Royal Holloway taught me to do all of that and more. I emerged a much stronger writer than when I first started and with connections, such as Ryan, that would become great collaborative partners in the future’. Ryan credits the MA with ‘helping me hone my writing and meet other artists in a way that I could do while working full-time, which is necessary for many of us who can’t take two-three years off for a master’s degree.’

Listen to City of Ghosts here and find out more about the show on the podcast website.