Eckman was born on January 27, 1984 in Manchester, New Hampshire. He has been writing, producing, directing, and editing short films since the age of 15, and his work has been screened at numerous film festivals across the country. He graduated from New York University with a B.F.A. in Film and TV Production in 2005.
Eckman's career began when he started making sketch videos for the Derrick Comedy group along with fellow members Donald Glover, Dominic Dierkes, DC Pierson, and Meggie McFadden. His NYU undergraduate thesis film, CHECKOUT, won several awards, including Best College Short at the 2006 HBO US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen.
In 2009, Derrick Comedy released the film Mystery Team, Derrick's first endeavor into the feature film world. The film premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.
Before making Mystery Team, Eckman was the Video Production Director for Blue Man Group, where his work was seen on the 57th Primetime Emmy Awards, the 2005 Billboard Music Awards, on PBS, at Universal Orlando and in the Boston Children's Museum, among others.
Eckman, along with his other Derrick partners with the exception of Glover, made a guest appearance on Community as Pierce's joke writers.
In 2011, Eckman directed the MTV film Worst. Prom. Ever. which starred Daryl Sabara and was produced by DC Pierson and Meggie McFadden.
In 2011, Eckman directed the very first Childish Gambino music video, Freaks and Geeks and the video for his single "Bonfire". In 2011, Dan directed the thirteenth episode of the third season of Community. His next directorial project will be an adaptation of his friend and Derrick partner DC Pierson's book, The Boy Who Couldn't Sleep and Never Had To. Eckman co-wrote the script with Pierson and Meggie McFadden.
Eckman was married to Meggie McFadden on July 10, 2010 in Paris.