At 13 Roberta fell in love with cinema after seeing New York, New York and Star Wars back to back with her cinefile Aunt. In year 12 she attended a forward thinking tech school with a Film & TV department, which ignited her interest in editing. Straight out of school Roberta started her training at Rodney Jay Post Productions in Melbourne. Her duties included receptionist, assistant: syncing 35/16 mm rushes, feeding the office cat, invoicing, last to leave and; once obtaining her license, couriering the rushes in her Morris 1500 which collected a dent in every panel!
As a junior editor she cut demo reels, music clips, short films (which she usually did continuity on) and some TVC’s for the Dairy and Egg boards. Her first series job was with the iconic & colorful Peter Russell Clarke, cutting his five minute cooking segments which aired on the ABC during the 1980s.
In 1987 at 22 Roberta established her own business The Cutting Room. Starting on film but moving into the new technology of computer non-linear, she worked mainly in commercials. She cut many high profile campaigns for many high profile directors and production companies including the 1990’s multi award winning and innovative Victorian Transport Accident Commission’s graphic road safety ads of which she edited the first 10 years of the campaign. The Cutting Room grew to become one of the big players in the Victorian post production market, being the main rival to the larger competitor M.R.P.P. (Mike Reeds Post Production.)
Through some of the directors she worked with she gained her nick name Bert, now Bertie. (Some clients being quite surprised to arrive at screenings to find the editor “Bert Horslie” was a chick who’s feet couldn’t touch the floor under the steenbeck or Avid!)
In 1994, Henry Dangar ASE visited Melbourne to encourage the Victorian post community to form a branch of the ASE. Roberta took the lead culminating in the formation of the Victorian Branch of the guild with Roberta voted in as the first Victorian Chairperson.
Roberta is a generous, warm hearted and welcoming individual who has time for everyone and an energy that is unrivalled. This is exemplified by Roberta training and mentoring many young and aspiring editors through out her career as well as spreading the joy of editing to a variety of guilds and universities.
One director said of Roberta. "When I first met Roberta, she was a rarity in the male dominated world of the late eighties. She surprised us with her technical brilliance, artistic talent and business savvy. Roberta makes her edit room a place where directors can be vulnerable but safe. Roberta's skills have created careers... and saved some. Mine included."
In 1998 after some solid years of slicing, dicing and "triple checking" hundreds of commercials with tight deadlines, Roberta took a break. The following year she then continued her passion to cutting long form drama, a feature film, documentaries, animations, short films, proactive charity videos and more TVC's.
Roberta’s passion for people’s rights in post production lead to her and Jenny Ward of the A.S.S.G waging an 18 month battle of congeniality with S.P.A.A. during 2002/2003 to set up a combined supported document with M.E.A.A. being the Pre Post Production Check list.
Roberta remained an active member of the ASE’s Victorian committee until 2008. The ASE Victorian membership and committee would not be as strong as it is today had it not been for Roberta’s unrelenting passion and commitment to the Guild.
- Cindy Clarkson