Frequent Flyer: David Cormican, Filmmaker/Producer

Jet-setting is all in a day’s work for this Canadian filmmaker who recently partnered with Oscar-winning producer Don Carmody.


As a filmmaker and producer, travelling is all in a day’s work for David Cormican. Although he’s currently a Toronto resident, it’s not unusual to find David on the road (rather in an airplane), scouting movie locations, meeting clients or attending film festivals to destinations all over the globe. Recently partnering with Oscar-winning producer Don Carmody, of Chicago and The Boondock Saints fame, on a new film/TV venture, David’s recent film credits The Tall Man, with Jessica Biel and Faces in the Crowd, with Milla Jovovich.

For David, travel is a by-product of his true passion. “I love that what was once just a seed of an idea snowballs into this big production for everyone to see and share,” he explains. “Seeing the finished product always amazes me. I’m like a kid seeing mountains for the first time.” Luckily for us accumulating thousands of air miles automatically qualifies him as a travel expert. Plus, David happens to have impeccable style (his Twitter bio confirms this). Read on to find out some of his must-visit restaurants in L.A., what keeps him entertained on the plane and how exactly he accomplishes to stay stylish.

What about your job takes you on the road?

Film & Television are international businesses. In today’s economy, you can’t finance a project out of any one single country anymore, so I’m always having to travel the world to meet with financiers/investors, co-production partners, talent, agents, lawyers, managers, etc.  I also attend many film festivals as they attract a lot of these individuals allowing me to maximize my trips by squeezing in all of the meetings into one trip.

My last trip was to Los Angeles (right before the earthquake). I was meeting with some of my partners from Japan who happened to be in town and whom I am currently working with on an upcoming mini-series, which will be a Canadian/Japanese co-production. As well, I met with a director my business partner and I are working with on developing a TV series around an existing feature film franchise.

Do you carry-on or check your bag?

The film Up In The Air changed me forever. I’m a carry-on only traveller and only in the most extreme of circumstances do I check bags. I went to Australia two years ago for a month and only had a backpack and my roll-on.

What is your carry-on?

I used to roll around with this Brookstone Dash Overnight bag that I picked up at the airport shop at O’Hare. I loved that bag, until it was destroyed by baggage handlers the one time I was forced to check it, as I was on a flight that was so small we could only bring our side bags on board. Now I’m packing in a Samonsite Spinner.

You’ll never find me travelling without ________.

My Nexus card and my Bose noise-cancelling headphones. Those two in combination are a lifesaving team for me.

Grooming product you always travel with?

Two things: my beard trimmer so that I can always clean up around my ears, neck and cheeks and then once I’m done a little Gameface moisturizer by Triumph & Disaster. That stuff really refreshes your face after a long flight and makes me look bright and ready if I have to head straight into meetings after a night on the red-eye.

Technology/app you love using on the road.

I’m always Shazam’ing songs when I travel. I’m hoping that’s a verb now. I usually don’t have a Wi-Fi connection when I first hear the song, so I love collecting new songs and coming home to discover what artist I’ve tagged and then downloading them. My faveourite find from last year was Francesco Rossi’s Paper Aeroplane.

Favourite hotel?

I actually prefer staying with friends. Hotels can be pretty lonely and when you’re on the road as much as I am, it can be nice to be in a home instead of a sterile room. Though that said, on my last trip to London, the group who was hosting me put me up at the Langham. Which was a very luxurious spoiling.

Hotel amenity you can’t live without?

Complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi.

Biggest travel pet peeve?

I feel like I have to preface this answer with the fact that I find this answer a total “champagne problem.” I feel so blessed to be able to travel as frequently as I do and get to see so many parts of the world. But I would have to say that my biggest travel pet peeve is the ever changing rules at security and how they differ from not only one airport to the next, but from one line-up and guard to the next. Do you want my bag in the tray or just on the belt? Shoes on this time? Just when I think I’ve mastered it all and nailed my routine to breeze through, they go and change it all over again.

Favourite website/booking engine to help you plan your travels?

I tend to book with my travel advisor, Fabio, over at Stage & Screen Travel. He’s great. If it’s a family holiday, I usually let my sister handle the details. She’s always great at choosing the fun stuff and adventures. Failing access to my sister’s skills, I’ve been known to frequent the Lonely Planet website for ideas.

Best meal on your last trip/ever. Where and what did you have?

I’m hoping that a drink counts… ’cause it was almost a meal. I was in London recently and went out for Sunday brunch to the Alice House in the Queens Park neighbourhood with a dear friend and we ended up being talked (with very little convincing required), into these beetroot bloody bastards (aka a Caesar with beet juice and gin instead of clamato and vodka). The fixings were epically delicious. A few of these and we were well on our way to a balanced diet. 😉

On-flight entertainment — what are your currently reading/listening to/watching?

I keep trying to finish Season 3 of Eastbound and Down, but can’t seem to find any episodes higher than 6?! I’m also hoping that Philomena will be playing on my next flight. But to really take advantage of my headphones it’s nice to chill out and kick off the boots to a few tunes. My friends and I are big into making, sharing and finding perfect playlists. One song that always gets me going is The 1975’s Chocolate off their debut album The 1975. That, and Hall & Oates’ You Make My Dreams. That song will never get old. Long live the mix tape!

Window or aisle?

Always an aisle seat. I have too much guilt if I’m having to be the one to crawl over people and disturb them if I ever have to go to the washroom. So to avoid holding it in I now just always book an aisle seat.

Tell us what your airplane style is.

I like to travel with my Brighton Adler Stitch Boot by John Varvatos in grey. Makes me ready to go from meeting to hiking to whatever adventure(s) lay in store in almost any climate.

As for the clothing, I tend to layer it up. You never know if the plane will be too cold/hot and if you luck out and land the seat with a draft. So, I usually wear a Henley on top. Nothing fancy. H&M dominates my closet in that department. Though you’ll spot a few Diesel and Guess henley’s in there too. I have this awesome blue large knit sweater that is just amazing. I don’t even think it is a branded article. Picked it up and wear it all the time now. It’s perfect for airports as it fits under my leather and keeps me warm when I want to be and doubles well as a blanket when I’m in need of a few winks in-flight. Then I’m usually wearing either of my leather jackets. One is a faux green leather from Zara and the other is a vintage black leather I picked up at Retro Vintage in Vancouver several years back. On the legs, I’m usually wearing some dark blues. I found a fantastic pair of jeans in Cannes the last time I was there. So much so, that I bought 2 pair by Ritchie Jeans.

Travel & Style’s Pick: Brioni Patterned Knitted Cashmere Sweater, $1,320,

Destination you travel to most — give us an insider scoop on a place we must visit.

I’m in Los Angeles 6-8+ times a year. I’m a huge fan of Mexican food and try to scoop up as much as I can every time I’m down in LA. There’s this Oaxacan place in Santa Monica on Pico that has fantastic moles. It’s nothing fancy, but the food is excellent. And you’re steps from the Ocean for a post-meal walk. The City Tavern in Culver City is right down the street from Sony and has some great local brews on tap.

And if it is a burger you’re craving, skip In’n’Out and head straight to The Counter in the Westfield’s Plaza in Century City on Santa Monica Blvd. It’s a bespoke burger experience that is crave worthy.

Most memorable souvenir?

I didn’t actually realize it until now, but I guess I kind of collect sporting bats. I have a gorgeous old Louisville slugger from the States, a Hurley from Tipperary and a cricket bat from Brisbane. It looks like subconsciously I’ve been stocking up for the zombie apocalypse.

Tell us about your last vacation.

I went to Banff (Alberta) over the Christmas break with my daughter and the rest of my family. We did every snow sport you could imagine from skiing and skating to dog sledding, bobsledding and snowshoeing. It was an incredibly active holiday, but rounded out with hot tubs, feasts and logs on the fire.

Next trip I’m taking is to __________with plans of _________.

I’ll be in Cannes in April for MipTV. It’s an international Television market where all the buyers converge twice a year to do business. I have a couple of series and mini-series I’m trying to close the financing on and will be working with my co-producers and sales agents while I’m there to do just that. But every time I’ve been to Cannes it’s been strictly business. This trip I’m hoping to finally take that helicopter trip along the Mediterranean from the airport in Nice that lands right down on the beach in Cannes. I’ve been putting it off for a few years now. The funny thing is, I hear they send your luggage ahead of you in a taxi, as there is not room enough in the chopper for passengers and bags! I’m also planning to take off to Monaco or Antibes (hopefully both) for a couple of days on the tail end of my trip.