Create Now Founder Jill Gurr began writing stories, poems and articles starting at seven-years-old. She has published three books and written a library of screenplays. Several were optioned and two were produced with well-known actors. Her scripts have placed as finalists in several screenwriting competitions.
Jill graduated with a B.S. in Broadcasting & Film from Boston University, then traveled all over the world, She’s fluent in Spanish, French and Italian. She worked for 25 years as a script supervisor on award-winning feature and TV productions with A-list actors and directors in exotic locations.
Her life changed when Jill worked as a script supervisor on the movie Menace II Society, the same time as the L.A. Riots in 1992. Jill taught a screenwriting workshop to 30 incarcerated teenage boys at Optimist Youth Homes in Highland Park. These teenagers learned how to read and write through her classes. Many wanted to go to college. One gang leader even had loyalty tattoos removed from his neck and hands.
Jill was later compelled to teach a second screenwriting workshop with a group of coed teens at a different juvenile detention facility, and the impact was just as powerful. She shared her stories with another screenwriter who told her professor Leslie Stevens (creator of The Outer Limits) at the AFI about her programs. Impressed by Jill’s passion to help these youth, Leslie donated $5,000 for her to start a nonprofit organization.
The organization was founded on October 26, 1996 and initially named Write Now! with the mission to teach literacy through different forms of creative writing. However, Jill realized that many kids preferred other types of artistic expression. In 1998, the name was changed to Create Now to include all forms of creativity, such as music, dance, culinary arts and fashion. She has dedicated 25 years of her life to building Create Now from the ground up. Jill has been featured on national media and received international awards for her work.
Jill has decided to step aside as the CEO of Create Now to return to her writing career. She’s still working part-time, focused on writing grants that will help generate new opportunities for Create Now to flourish. She’s joining the Board of Directors and providing her skills and knowledge to keep assisting the organization.
She is almost finished writing her memoir, “What You Give Is What You Get,” while also promoting her other books and screenplays. Jill’s stories are even more relevant today, especially those co-written 28 years ago with incarcerated minors. She’s excited to be included in the upcoming coffee-table book, “100 Making a Difference,” along with Steven Spielberg, Oprah, Michelle Obama, Eva Longoria, and many other celebrities. It will be available on Amazon later this year, with proceeds shared amongst all the featured charities.
Watch Jill's TEDx Talk in Beverly Hills about why she founded Create Now and visit her website at jillgurr.com.