The opening scene of Up In The Air written by Sheldon Turner and Jason Reitman is compelling. Ryan Bingham, a flight-hopping corporate down-sizer, is giving a speech in the conference room of some anonymous hotel. His must be one of the toughest jobs on earth. He's hired to let go of many people in few days.
Ray Bingham knows people don't like change. And he knows there's only one way to deliver it to them. He must sell them the future. A future unburdened by the past and packed with possibilities. His message is simple: what you own ends up weighing you down. And since "moving is living", getting rid of your possessions, of your job, of your past is not something to fear. It's a chance to start over.
Shameless and effective.
"How much does your life weigh? (Ryan pauses to let us consider this.)
Imagine for a second that you're carrying a backpack... I want you to feel the straps on your shoulders... You feel them? (gives us a beat) Now, I want you to pack it with all the stuff you have in your life. Start with the little things. The stuff in drawers and on shelves. The collectables and knick-knacks. Feel the weight as it adds up. Now, start adding the larger stuff. Your clothes, table top appliances, lamps, linens, your TV. That backpack should be getting pretty heavy at this point - Go Bigger. Your couch, your bed, your kitchen table. Stuff it all in... Your car, get it in there... Your home, whether you have a studio apartment or a two story house, I want you to stuff it into that backpack. (Ryan takes a beat to let the weight sink in.)
Now try to walk. (We hear people around us chuckling. Ryan smiles).
Kinda hard, isn't it? This is what we do to ourselves on a daily basis. We weigh ourselves down until we can't even move. And make no mistake - Moving is living. (We see nodding. People's gears turning.)
Now, I'm going to set your backpack on fire. What do you want to take out of it? Photos? Photos are for people who can't remember. Drink some gingko and let the photos burn. In fact let everything burn and imagine waking up tomorrow with nothing. (a beat of emphasis) It's kind of exhilarating isn't it? That is how I approach every day."