Montage is a simple, no-frills screenplay app that does its job with a minimal learning curve. My introduction to it came when I started a new script a couple of weeks ago, and I found it to be a pleasure to use.
One of its features is an auto-complete menu which, in theory, is supposed to present you with a menu of your characters' names when you type the first letter or two. Say, for example, you've got characters by the name of Carl, David, and Christine. When you select the Character style, and type the letter C, you should get a menu that displays both Carl and Christine. Unfortunately, this feature worked for me about 20 percent of the time -- the rest of the time I had to type out the complete name.
I logged onto Mariner's user forum and asked if anyone else was experiencing this problem and, if so, is there a solution. Two days later I received an email from Mariner's tech support telling me that this was the first time they'd heard of the problem -- and would I please send them the file so that they could see if they could duplicate the issue with their systems.
As you can imagine, sending a screenplay to strangers is a scary proposition. It's a proprietary document, and the thought of someone mishandling the file or even stealing an idea is enough to give anyone pause. But I took a deep breath, swallowed hard, and replied to their email with my file attached -- along with a note that requested that the file is "for your eyes only."
A few hours later, I checked back in the forum to see if anyone else had replied to my thread, and lo and behold, there was my file -- attached to a new post that contained the text of my reply email.
As you can imagine, this freaked me out, and I sent Mariner tech support another email asking them what on earth they were thinking by posting my proprietary file for all the world to see. And then I discovered THAT email was posted in the thread.
You can see how unsettling this would be. I told Mariner that they behaved cavalierly with my screenplay, that I had trusted them, and that they had betrayed that trust. Naturally, THAT email appeared in the thread, too. Finally, they explained to me that any email correspondence that begins as a forum thread will append to the original thread. Why, I asked, did you folks request my file and fail to tell me that? I would never have sent my file had I known it would be posted in a public forum.
I ended this situation by asking them to (minimally) notify people that their emails and attachments will appear in the original thread or (better yet) change their system so that emails remain private, as we would expect them to be. Mariner responded by deleting my entire thread, which I assume is how they intend to "deal" with this problem.
I've written two books and a weekly newspaper column with Mariner Write, and I'd begun my most recent screenplay with Montage. I was a very loyal Mariner software user and a long-time fan. But they behaved shamefully at every milestone in this sordid affair. They posted in public a proprietary file, despite my request for careful handling. They have apparently decided that their system of posting email correspondence in a public forum works perfectly well. They see no reason to notify people that their files will be mishandled and their trust abused. And they did what all incompetent companies do: they deleted a public thread that takes issue with how their customers are treated.
Add all this up and you can understand why I'd abandon their products. This company is not to be trusted.