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Montage Review

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Montage is screenwriting software by Mariner Software. It has all the tools and features you need to write a screenplay from fade-in to the credits. However, the software comes together in an awkward and jarring way.

The interface of this script-writing software is easy enough to navigate. All the views and tools are listed on the left pane of the screen, so you won't have much trouble finding what you're looking for. And yet, you can't help but feel that the brightly colored feature list and icons befit an application from the late '90s.

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When you start a new project in Montage, the application asks what kind of script you are writing and provides templates for more than a dozen professional formats, including BBC, comic book, musical, screenplay, stage play and TV. Each of these options has unique demands and formatting issues, so Montage has taken the time to program each one of them.

The features in the left pane are somewhat useful for an average screenwriter, but industry professionals would probably not need features such as Tasks, Contacts or Queries. These tasks are ultimately handled outside the word processor and seem somewhat superfluous.

Probably the best feature in Montage is its full-screen mode. This allows you to eschew all the distractions dancing around the words on the page and focus on what you're writing.

Most writers will tell you that the best writing happens during rewrites. This is where Montage fails. There are no features that enable you to track changes, lock pages or create shooting scripts. In fact, the only production element in Montage is the ability to add scene numbers to the screenplay. You'll have to invest in some third-party software if the screenplay you write with Montage ever goes into production.

Montage has a lot of tools and features to help you write a script, whether it's for the big screen, TV or the stage. In some ways, though, the software's foundation simply cannot support the heavy burden that screenwriting puts on writers' shoulders. The software is bogged down with well-intentioned but mostly unnecessary features that don't address the needs of professional screenwriters and producers.

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