16 March 2013 2:54 PM, PDT | Thompson on Hollywood | See recent Thompson on Hollywood news »

A day of peaks and valleys (mostly peaks), oddly bookended by two encounters with screenwriter/directors: one glamorous, famous, handsome, self-assured, garlanded with accolades and awards, including, yes, the Oscar; the other, an indie guy, quiet, subdued, self-deprecating, even apologetic. The day began at 10 a.m. with the first of the festival’s three consecutive Coffee Talks, whose free admission included, yes, free coffee, today from Starbucks. But the main attraction was Stephen Gaghan, Oscar-winning screenwriter of Steven Soderbergh’s “Traffic,” and Oscar-nominated writer-director “Syriana.” Casually dressed and boyish despite a headful of graying hair, Gaghan held his audience in the palm of his hand during a fast-moving hour of assured and amusing anecdotes that touched on his Emmy-winning apprenticeship with David Milch on “NYPD Blue,” – Gaghan lay down on the stage to show how Milch, a bad-back sufferer, would read, reject, and ball up 48 pages of Gaghan’s 50-page »

- Meredith Brody

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