Meet the Youngbloods committee: Maria Elena

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Meet the Youngbloods committee: Maria Elena

The Youngbloods have done an amazing job of bringing together the younger professionals in our industry to inspire and network. Here we get to know Sandbox’s Maria Elena, a member of of this year’s hardworking Youngbloods WA committee.


We’re a group of young professionals across Australia who believe that the new generations of ad people hold the power to redefine this industry.

How did you get your start in this industry?

I actually consider myself pretty blessed to be where I am today and it happened by a mixture of luck and being in the right place at the right time.

Like many, I didn’t really have a clear idea of what I wanted to study after high school and what would be the best use of the skills I was developing. I was actually helping my friend in her start up business – producing her social and online content. I really enjoyed this so decided to study marketing and advertising at Curtin.

While I was there I joined the JumpStart Graduation program – which I can highly recommend to anyone – I managed to land a role of marketing intern at Sandbox. At the end of the placement a production job became available and I jumped at the chance to take it. 3 years later I am now producing online content and TVCs in my own right and absolutely loving it.

What do you love about your job?

To be honest, you can’t beat the adrenaline rush of shoot days. There is usually an intense period leading up to it but once you get to it, everything always works out. It’s great to see the hard work pay off and to watch the whole team come together – from us in production to agency, crew and clients.

On set my job is to try and balance everything out and I love that, especially when you have to think on your feet and make quick decisions. It may sound cliché, but I love reining in the chaos.

I’ve also had the privilege to travel to some far-flung areas of our State that other people just wouldn’t get the chance to see.

What Youngblood’s event are you championing this year?

The Bullshit Battle of the Ad Bands. Like most things we weren’t able to hold the event last year (thanks COVID), but we are back in 2021 and bigger than ever. We are very fortunate to be able to hold events like this, so it just makes it all the more special.

We work in a pretty stressful industry, so this is a real chance for everyone to let their hair down and showcase a set of skills other than what they do in their day-to-day job.

This year we have five bands lined up and the infamous Fay Rocious MC’ing the night.

The event is taking place on Friday 19th March – grab your tickets here!



What is the best piece of advice you’ve received so far?

“Don’t stress about the things you can’t control.” Ironically this is literally my job and it’s still something I am coming to understand but it’s true. We work under tight deadlines, so it’s really important to focus on the things I can control and not lose sleep over the things I can’t.

If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?

I am blown away by the amount of creative talent we have here in WA, but we are almost too humble to make a noise about it. It feels like we are always playing second fiddle to the East Coast but we create work that is equally as amazing.

So, if I could change anything, it would be making sure Perth talent gets recognised and celebrated more nationally and internationally.

What’s your go-to karaoke song?

It’s got to be Mr Brightside by the Killers!

Tell us about how a typical day goes at Sandbox?

There isn’t really a typical day, but like most, I deal with a lot of calls and emails throughout the day. This is usually balanced with getting things ready for shoots – it might be casting an adorable dog; working through treatments with Directors or searching Perth for a perfect location. So, I do get to unchain myself from my desk from time to time which is great!

What’s the one project you have been involved in that stands out? and Why?

I could mention any number of projects here but two that really stick out are:

Bowra and O’Dea
This was such a fun shoot! The lead up was intense, every piece of detail had to be pre-approved and ordered for the most effective use of time on shoot. We had one shoot day to capture 52 shots which is a lot more than we would usually try to capture but it all came together and I really love the end result because of all the work that went into it.

Huge team effort!

As a producer, one thing I love is the element of control in bringing an idea to life. This treatment was very much about capturing real conversations amongst real people so put me outside my comfort zone. It was so fulfilling to see it all come together as we had hoped – again, this is testament to a full team effort and Mel Branson’s (Director) and all the Creatives’ vision.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?

I love what I do and see myself working in the industry for many years. As long as I am always being pushed and feel like I am learning I’ll be happy. I do craze international experience though, and would love to either have the chance to work globally with our clients, or to continue my career in Europe or America. Seems like a far-flung dream at the moment!

What do you like about being on the Youngbloods committee?

The Youngbloods committee is full of passionate people who all share the same desire to get shit done. It has helped me broaden my network nationally and allowed me to work on some really cool projects such as the Gruen Transfer and of course, Battle of The Bands.

If I were to sum it up, it would be these three things: The people, the projects and the experiences.