Film Stars September/October 2018

August 2nd, 2021 by Bryan

Garret Hollis | Two Loves: Family and Travel

By Emmariah Holcomb

There can be an endless amount of things a person loves or cherishes throughout their lifetime. Whether it be memories, friends or even a childhood pet, there are bound to be things that are near and dear to every person. For Garret Hollis his two loves are simple—family and travel subbing.

A Sub’s Start

Sub is short for subcontractor and travel sub, in this context, is someone in the window film industry who travels from city to city for work. “I have a lot of friends in other towns and cities because of my job, and when they want to get stuff done, they’ll just give me a call and see if I can help them out on their project,” Hollis says. Though he spends his time traveling for work now, this isn’t how he started. Hollis began working as a window tinter and has spent nearly 15 years tinting before becoming a travel sub three years ago.

“I remember when I was living and working in California, things were going well,” Hollis says. “Then my wife and I had our second child. I knew it was time to move back home,” he adds. Things took off after he and his family moved back to Mississippi.

Work came in and remained steady.

“Right now the companies I do work for cover my travel and expenses. If there was a time where I had to pay out of pocket up front, I would get reimbursed by them,” Hollis says.

A Family Man’s Balancing Act

It’s not always easy balancing two things you’re deeply passionate about. Time management and constant communication were crucial pieces for Hollis and his family because no two work projects are the same. “My time really depends on the project, I just finished an eight month job in Dallas,” Hollis says. He drove back home on his off days during this project to spend quality time with his wife and children, but it did take a lot out of him. “I won’t be taking another job for a while … especially because I’ll be in San Francisco for two weeks next week to work again.”

Travel subbing and being on the road for days, weeks or even months at a time can make a person see what takes priority in his or her life, but for Hollis family time always remains on his mind.

“I really do try to take some time off in between different projects just to spend time with them. When I’m away, my family gets hit hard because the kids know I’ll be gone for a while and my wife becomes a single parent until I come back. I know it’s hard on her with two young kids by herself having to balance them, work and me,” he says.

Juggling schedules got better after a few long trips away. “My wife stayed at home for a while because it was easier that way, but now she’s working again and balancing everything is hard.”

Speaking with his children and wife helped them connect as a family—the more they kept the lines of communication open the less far away he felt. “No matter what, I put my family first. If it came down to it I know I can always find work anywhere at any time,” Hollis says. “For me it isn’t about the paychecks you get, sometimes it’s just about being able to see those first moments your kids have.”

The Art of Travel Subbing

The concept appears simple. A person gets a call for a job in a different city and he or she goes there to work. The benefits can be eye opening for the tinter. “I’ve been able to see a lot of the country I wouldn’t have been able to see without being in this line of work,” Hollis says.

Of course there are always places that remain high on the list. “I love being in Cali and D.C., there’s just something about all of the history you get from Washington and the views are always nice and out of this world in California, not to mention it’s pretty perfect weather all year round,” he adds.

“I’ve done this for about 15 years and I love it, before this I never liked anything enough to stick with it … and I’ve had a lot of other jobs. I really like the fact that not everyone can do the jobs that I do—I can’t imagine stopping,” Hollis says.

Advice for Future Subs

After spending years traveling, meeting new people and growing in his craft Hollis as a piece of advice for those thinking about their start as a travel sub. “For someone who doesn’t have kids you’ll see the country and make good money fast,” he says. “If you have kids or a growing family it’ll be a little tricky to balance everything, but if it’s your passion it’s well worth it.”

Emmariah Holcomb is the editorial assistant for WINDOW FILM magazine. Reach her at, and follow her on Twitter @WindowFilmMag.

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.

Leave Comment