Aidan Eslinger Takes Center Stage

By Katelyn Allen on Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Jason Masters
Aidan's dream is to become a filmmaker, and he's currently working on a short film.

Aidan Eslinger
Job title: CEO of Aidan Eslinger Productions
Age: 17 | High School: Conway High School

Aidan Eslinger was not going to wait around for opportunities to just come to him—he created his own. 

At age 8, Aidan got to work. With dreams of being a playwright even then, he wrote and produced his first stage play, "Steve Comes Home." Two years later, he debuted his second, "Grandma's Easter" in March 16. 

The young writer, playwright, filmmaker, producer and director was just getting started. 

“The most rewarding part of my job is the reaction we get from audiences across the board...To see their smiles, hear their laughs, or hear how much they enjoyed something we did.”

Within another two years, Aidan published a children’s book and produced yet another play—one that debuted to a packed 1,000-seat house in his hometown of West Memphis and later performed on tour.

“The most rewarding part of my job is the reaction we get from audiences…,” he said, “ see their smiles, hear their laughs, or hear how much they enjoyed something we did.”

But this was simply the opening act in the storyline of Aidan’s career. The Conway teen has published two children’s books, produced five stage plays and directed a short film plus a web series—with big dreams for so much more.

“I couldn’t sit back and wait for an opportunity,” Aidan said. “If there’s anything I want to do that feels out of reach, I break it down creatively and logistically [to] see how I can make it happen.”

Aidan, who (no surprise) is also a star student and active leader in his high school, said his mission is to inspire and entertain a wide variety of audiences while telling impactful stories. 

“The most challenging part has probably been being taken seriously in my position as the head of the operation …Because I’m so young…,” Aidan said. “The entertainment industry is a challenging industry to tap into and be successful. I’m still learning how to navigate the space.”

Aidan’s ultimate goal is to become a famous filmmaker creating films he is passionate about.

“I hope to be so successful that I’m able to produce the content that is important to me,” he said. “I don’t want to have to change my style or censor the stories I want to tell.”

His family and the next generation are on his heart, too. Aidan hopes to take care of his family financially to show his appreciation for all of their support of him and each of his projects. The young go-getter plans to parlay his continued success into a restaurant and arts center that will encourage children to explore their creativity just as he has.

“I always knew I wanted to use my creativity to reach others and positively impact them.”

Jason Masters
Aidan with his original children's book, "The King of Pangea"

Arkansas Film Opportunities

For Aspiring Filmmakers

The Arkansas Cinema Society in Little Rock offers filmmaking workshops and connects filmmakers all over the state with others to share ideas and build community.

The University of Arkansas College of Arts & Sciences in Fayetteville offers programs in film, media and broadcast journalism-related studies.

South Arkansas College in El Dorado offers an Entertainment & Media Arts program that includes a film pre-production course.

The University of Central Arkansas Department of Film, Theatre & Creative Writing offers a digital filmmaking bachelor’s and master’s degree. Students can take courses in visual effects compositing, animation, editing, set design, documentary and audio. The university also hosts a film festival every spring.