Think HBR

Let's Talk With Andy Gallagher

1. In a few words tell us about your current role.
I am the owner of VRXP – Virtual Reality Experience; a VR studio in Watt st, Newcastle. We showcase amazing virtual experiences and can now also create them with our new VR cinema camera system.
2. How have you reached this point in your professional life?
Well I grew up on a few acres out in Medowie so I consider myself a local, even though I still cop it from my Lambton high mates. I then moved to Canberra to study at the art school of the Australian National University. Taking art theory inside the National Gallery of Australia was incredibly inspiring. I originally hoped to become a full time animator but switched to film/video as I preferred its immediacy and the fact I wasn’t locked behind a desk. While finishing university I started freelancing in video production before getting a job with a full service ad agency creating tv commercials. I moved back to Newcastle a little over five years ago and have loved settling down with my wife Emily and new son River. It was about two years ago while shooting commercial video for clients and agencies here in Newy I saw the first glimpses of virtual reality technology developing and thought there could be a way to allow everyone to experience it. VRXP has been operating now for nearly eighteen months and I can’t believe the amazing response we have had. We have recently made a significant investment into high-end VR 3D camera technology and can now create virtual video experiences for clients. It feels great that my passion for film making has merged with virtual reality and we are now incredibly busy creating content in the tourism, educational and contemporary art sectors.
3. When you’re not at work, where can we find you?
When I’m not at work I love being at home with my little man.
It’s going to be scary and exciting to see what new technologies he will see in his lifetime. I am also obsessed with pinball as my main hobby/passion. I love the fact it’s not a screen; it’s tactile, mechanical and awesome fun with a few beers with mates. Every table has different engineering, rules and artwork and there is a very active and passionate community of all ages. I recently restored an electro mechanical pinball machine from 1976 and to see hundreds of relays, coils and switches all work in unison is amazingly satisfying.
4. Where do you find inspiration?
I listen to a lot of amazing podcasts each week. While commuting or doing menial tasks, there are so many inspiring stories of people across the world doing amazing or challenging things.
Radiolab is a great example, “a mix of science, philosophy and human experience.” The episode all about colour as a concept is fascinating.
5. What advice would you give to someone just starting out in your field?
My advice is to be great in person. I think emotional intelligence and people skills are so underrated, no matter your field of work. This is where you can get the job, win the quote or become invaluable inside a team environment. How can you develop your people skills? Get out of the house and your comfort zones. Playing team sports, and working for years in hospitality gave me the confidence I needed in those early years. In short, be great to work with.
6. What’s something most people don’t know about you?
I’ve never been a fan of needles.
There are many embarrassing stories of me fainting from a young age, including an unsuccessful attempt to donate blood. I didn’t even make it to the nurse. Haha.
7. How would you like to see the Hunter evolve over the next decade?
I think the Hunter is moving in the right direction. Growing up here I always wanted Newcastle and the greater region to thrive. I feel proud being part of a new generation of business owners who are trying something new. We are currently in a transition phase and it’s so exciting to visually see the area evolve. My biggest plea is to get out and support your local businesses, and if you enjoyed what they have to offer, let them know.
8. What’s your favourite Hunter restaurant/café/bar?
I can’t go past a bacon and egg roll at The Edwards or enjoying a beer and pinball at The Stag N Hunter.
9. Are you reading anything at the moment?
Trying to start Dune… again haha.
10. Do you have a favourite sport or team?
North Melbourne (AFL)
11. What’s the best line from a film you’ve ever heard?
Falcor: Never give up and good luck will find you. The Neverending Story.