Seattle to world: 'Hey, come film your commercials here'

SEATTLE -- From "Sleepless in Seattle," to "Singles" and even "War Games," Seattle is no stranger to the big screen. But now the Emerald City's film industry is getting ready to roll out the red carpet in an attempt to attract attention on a smaller screen by getting businesses to film their commercials here.

"We can make a commercial from start to finish here and in a world class way," said Amy Lillard, executive director with Washington Filmworks.

Lillard is about to put the word out to the entire world, and maybe in a not-so-conventional way.

Some of the pitches on their fliers are funny, like: "We bend over, so your idea doesn't have to." Another boasts: "When we sell out, so does your product."

But this idea has potential to make millions for the local economy.

"When you really look at the impact of filming on an area, you know when a project is there - whether it's a commercial or feature film - the impact is undeniable," Lillard said.

Next week, public and private agencies will get together to launch what's called "Commercialize Seattle." The idea is to take the attention Seattle's received in films and on television and translate that to ads you see on TV and the Internet.

"We are one of the few places in the world where you can be in the mountains in the morning, and the beaches in the afternoon," Lillard said.

That's one part of the pitch. Other parts include tax incentives, discounted permits -- even free parking.

"It's about showing off what we have from a location perspective but also how do we keep people working and bring money into the economy," Lillard said.

The official launch of Commercialize Seattle is at Spitfire in Belltown next Wednesday night. Mayor Mike McGinn, industry leaders, and ad agencies are all expected to attend.