In the bustling world of film production, one student at Chapman University is breaking down barriers and making the process more accessible to aspiring filmmakers. Meet Aidan Eck, a Film Production major with a Directing emphasis within the Dodge College of Film and Media Arts and a minor in Entrepreneurship, set to graduate in the Class of 2025.
ACE Platinum Studios: A Game-Changing Idea
Aidan is the Founder & CEO of ACE Platinum Studios, an affordable, local, quality film rental solution for student filmmakers. In his freshman year at Chapman, Aidan discovered the harsh realities of the film equipment industry, setting the stage for his entrepreneurial journey. The exorbitant costs, logistical challenges, and inaccessibility of high-quality equipment prompted Aidan to take action. “Our mission is to make filmmaking more accessible to the Chapman Community and beyond,” says Eck.
Eck says that most film rental houses are in Los Angeles. Without access to a car during his freshman year, it made it nearly impossible to get any equipment to enhance the quality of his independent projects. He wanted to change this for current and future film students. He says, “After a little research and a lot of saving, I invested in industry-standard equipment with the goal of giving underclassmen access to resources traditionally exclusive to bigger budget films.”
The road to success was far from smooth, however. As ACE Platinum Studios gained momentum, Aidan realized that he needed to expand his equipment inventory to meet the growing demand. However, the high cost of quality equipment and the need for efficiency posed a significant challenge. “After starting up the company, I instantly started getting rental requests,” he says. “While business was booming, I was met with a harsh reality; I didn’t have enough equipment. Films prefer to rent from only one location, as it increases efficiency and decreases transportation costs. But, with quality equipment being extremely expensive, it became difficult to rationalize further investment until the business was proven.”
Facing the equipment shortage head-on, Aidan made a pivotal decision that transformed ACE Platinum Studios into a unique and thriving business. By creating a partnership with fellow students who owned film equipment, he established a system that connected equipment owners with renters, optimizing the use of available resources.
Chapman’s Influence on Aidan’s Entrepreneurial Journey
Aidan emphasizes the vital role that the Leatherby Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Ethics played in his journey. “”Every professor I have met within the Entrepreneurship Program and Argyros Business School has been nothing more than supportive and invested in my growth as a student and business owner.” The Center’s programs, support, and resources have been instrumental in shaping his business and providing valuable insights into running a successful operation. Additionally, Eck says “One of the most important resources I used was my fellow classmates! Working with two of my advertising friends, I was able to utilize their knowledge and education to help research and investigate the feasibility of the business, advertise the company, and build strong customer relations.”
Aidan’s journey as a Film Production major with an Entrepreneurship minor has allowed him to leverage his leadership and organizational skills to drive ACE Platinum Studios forward. His financial acumen, acquired through courses like BUS-110 Financial Accounting, has further strengthened the business’s financial standing and goals.
Although an avid film student, Aidan has also been involved in acapella throughout his tenure at the university, serving as Vice President for Chapman SoundCheck. “Applying my film experience to my musical outlet, in January 2023 I Executive Produced “Midnight,” a full-scale music video with a near 40-person crew,” he says. “This project was then used as promotional material for both the group and the music school.”
Aidan’s Advice to Student Entrepreneurs
The biggest lesson that Aidan has learned throughout his journey thus far has been the importance of research and investigation required to start a business. “Being ahead of the market and understanding what a customer is looking for is vital in any line of business, but especially in the ever-changing world of rental equipment,” he says.
His advice to student entrepreneurs is this: “If you are interested in starting a company, you should absolutely take advantage of the Entrepreneurship Center at Chapman. They have several programs for current students and alumni, ranging from guest speakers to one-on-one advising. Their support helped elevate my business and gave me insight into how I could better run a company.”
Eck’s story is an inspiring example of an entrepreneur who not only identified a problem but also implemented a solution that benefits his community and aspiring filmmakers. His journey is a testament to the power of passion, research, collaboration, and the unwavering support provided by educational institutions like Chapman University.