A group of dedicated fans is giving the Arrow fandom, specifically Original Team Arrow (OTA), one hell of a send-off.
Ever since they learned about season 8 being Arrow’s last, these twelve friends have put together a campaign for the record books. They had a simple goal: put a billboard up in Times Square to honor their favorite characters and actors. What they ended up with was something more.
These twelve anonymous die-hard Arrow fans not only reached their goal of $3,500, but they have also surpassed it by leaps and bounds. And with an endorsement from the Green Arrow himself, Stephen Amell, the campaign took off like a rocket, raising over $14,500 since it began.
Using the Twitter handle @GoodbyeOTA, these incredible fans are now not only adding a second billboard, they’re also raising money for charity.
Check out our interview with @GoodbyeOTA to find out how this all got started and where all that money is going.
What got you into the Arrow fandom and OTA (Original Team Arrow)?
I remember watching the promo for Arrow and wanting to give it a chance. And yes, a shallow part of me admits that part of the reason why I started watching was for Stephen and David’s abs unfortunately that wasn’t enough for me to stay. I actually quit watching the show towards the middle of season 1. What brought me back, however, was when I started seeing so much chatter about Arrow and so much chatter about Felicity and her burgeoning relationship with Oliver and Diggle. They were the lightning in the bottle that the show was missing, and I am forever grateful that I came back to it. Despite its ups and downs, OTA will always be close to my heart.
How did you all meet?
We all found each other over time and the effort we put into fandom. To me, I can say that it’s our passion for our favorite characters that brought us all together on twitter. From the live tweets, to discussing theories together, or just showing our enthusiasm of what we saw on screen and behind the scenes.
What was your initial reaction to finding out that Arrow would be ending after season 8?
I felt like I was losing a friend forever. I felt incredibly verklempt. It’s strange and dramatic to say this, but it feels like Felicity, Diggle, Oliver have become some of my dearest friends over the years. I’ve learned from them, cried with them, laughed with them, so to say goodbye is like having a large part of my life taken away from me. Fictional characters have this amazing power to pull out such strong emotions from people, and it’s safe to say that OTA did the same for me.
How did this idea to do a billboard in Times Square come about?
Over the years most of us talked about doing a billboard one day, the idea was tossed around but it never happened. When Stephen announced that season 8 would be the last one, we all jumped at the opportunity to send OTA off in a way they deserve. They have given us so much over the years, we felt as though this could be the least we could do to show our passion for their characters one last time.
How much research did you have to do in order to figure out if this was even possible?
We knew it was possible through a friend in the Timeless fandom who helped their campaign achieve the same thing. We got the info for the right people to go to in order to make this happen.
What was your initial goal with the project?
Our initial goal of the project was to raise $3500 to get the billboard for 24 hours
What have your subsequent goals been?
Our subsequent goals after the billboard was to raise as much as we could so the proceeds could go to the gift baskets we’re arranging for Stephen Amell, Emily Bett, and David Ramsey, as well as charity
What has the response been like to your campaign?
The response to the campaign has been beyond incredible. I believe we raised more than our initial goal in less than 3 hours which we initially thought would be hard to get. Ever since then it’s just been a whirlwind and we’re extremely honored to see it get this far.
The response has been beyond our wildest expectations to the point where a generous donor who owns the largest billboard on Times Square decided to message us and ask us if we would like to use their billboard. His son is a major fan of the show and suffers from Kleine Levin Syndrome. KLS is a rare neurological condition that is still not completely understood as it affects suffers in such different ways. For a donation to KLS research, we are now able to run a Goodbye OTA ad on the largest board in Times Square as well as drawing attention to a little understood condition. It is an incredibly generous offer that we feel really honoured to be offered.
I noticed that your campaign went viral when Stephen Amell pledged to donate $10,000. What has the response been to that?
The response has been phenomenal! We didn’t think Stephen would ever catch wind of our campaign much less pin the tweet on his account! It was because of his tweet we got to almost $14.5k in LESS than 2 weeks! We don’t have enough adjectives to describe how in awe of fandom we are with this amount of passion they’ve thrown into our project.
Did you ever expect your campaign to get so big?
Not at all, and it’s been such an amazing journey to see how big it grew.
Have you picked charities that your extra funds will go to? If so, which ones?
We decided to hold a poll to ask the people who donated to vote where Stephen’s funds as well as our extra funds would go to.
It was decided that Stephen’s funds would go to Cure Childhood Cancer.
It was decided our extra funds would go to BuildOn as well as the KLS Foundation.
Once everything is all said and done, have you decided on the art that will go on the billboard?
We are currently trying very hard at the moment to get the rights from the WB to stills from Arrow as well as promotional material so we could use images of OTA on our billboard. We have an idea of what we want on the board, but we’d like to keep it to ourselves a bit until we get the rights!
What are your plans after Arrow ends? Have you found any other shows that have captured your interest?
Arrow is going to leave a gaping hole in all of our lives for a bit, we feel. We don’t know if any character will capture our hearts the way OTA did, some of us sometimes joke about how Olicity and OTA ruined other ships and teams for us, but there’s a truth to that. It will be extremely difficult to find a show that has the chemistry that Olicity and OTA do.
If you would like to donate to this very special campaign, you can do so at the following links: