Author and screenwriter, often preoccupied with American history as viewed from a Southern perspective. Born in Atlanta, Trotti studied writing at Columbia University and was also the first person to graduate from the University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism. In 1923, he became the youngest editor employed by a newspaper owned by the Hearst Press, The Georgian. From 1925, Trotti worked in New York for the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America, moving on to Hollywood in 1932. He spent virtually his entire career at 20th Century Fox as writer/producer: from 1933 until his untimely death in 1952. He wrote screenplays for a wide range of genres, including war films, westerns, comedies and biopics. The majority of these were critical and box office hits.

Recurring motifs in Trotti's work are life in a romanticised Deep South (Steamboat Round the Bend (1935), Can This Be Dixie? (1936)), the Civil War (Young Mr. Lincoln (1939), Belle Starr (1941), The Ox-Bow Incident (1942)), pioneering history (Drums Along the Mohawk (1939), Brigham Young (1940), Hudson's Bay (1940)) and rustic, small town Americana (Cheaper by the Dozen (1950)). Invariably, his screenplays have benefited from a profound knowledge of American history and politics and his keen eye for characterisation.

His peers in the industry regarded Trotti as a man of considerable integrity. He was generally described as of quiet, self-effacing nature, possessed of strong moral convictions. His contributions were recognised thirty-one years after his death with a prestigious Screen Laurel Award from the Writer's Guild of America.