A prize worth $400,000 and "a truly amazing, career launching opportunity" await the creative team that wins a digital design competition inspired by a new MTV series called Engine Room. Design for print is eligible for entry into the contest, which is accepting applications in the form of digital files until the "casting call" ends on June 30.

The Engine Room competition is a project of mtvU, MTV's college network. The Engine Room series, says MTV, "will pit creative minds from around the planet against each other in a battle of digital art skills that will include graphic design, animation, mixing sounds, filmmaking and more."

The series, co-sponsored by HP, seeks digital artists (at least 18 years of age) from around the globe to compete in a series of creative challenges utilizing HP computers. Those whose sample files are selected—16 people in all—will be flown to New York City on July 18 to be filmed for about 30 days as they compete in teams of four by creating animations, Web sites, short films, sound mixes, and other projects to be showcased on Engine Room.

MTV will cover incidental expenses including flight and hotel for those selected to participate. HP computers will be used in the competition, and HP products will be added to the $400,000 prize to be divided equally among the four members of the winning team.

Student designers and other artists have until June 30 to apply by uploading their digital samples at the Engine Room web site. Samples can include graphics, short films, web pages, songs, mixes "or anything else cool you have created," says Cara Weissman, "casting director" for the series. She adds that the definition of "cool" includes pieces created digitally for printed output, such as posters, brochures, magazines, and direct-mail pieces.

In fact, says Weissman, "It would actually be a plus if they designed a project along those lines (rather than just submitting a drawing) because I take marketing ability into account when choosing top students!"

Because team members will be selected from each of four regions—North America, Asia/Pacific, Europe and Latin America—students must apply individually. Entrants also must be available from July 18 through August 16 to be flown to New York City to compete. Inquiries can be sent to [email protected].