His debut came in 1984 with the film The Stone Boy performing with Robert Duvall and Glenn Close. The following year, he was selected to play Darren Woods in Joe Dante's big budget movie, Explorers, with Ethan Hawke and River Phoenix. This movie was not a blockbuster, but earned nominations to the three protagonists at the Young Artist Award in the category for 'Best Young Actor'. The winner was his co-star and friend River Phoenix. Dante liked Presson's performance and subsequently cast him in a similar role in "The Shadow Man", a Twilight Zone segment which Dante directed.
In 1990, he had a minor role in the movie Gremlins 2: The New Batch, returning to work with the director Joe Dante after five years. His last role was on the TV series In the Heat of the Night as Jimmy Miller.
|1983||Wishman||Bruce Kaleb||TV movie|
|1984||The Stone Boy||Arnold Hillerman|
|1984||Invitation to Hell||Billy||main character|
|1984||Trapper John, M.D.||Jamie Bruce||Episode: "A Change of Heart"|
|1984||Finder of Lost Loves||Jonathan Hodges||Episode: "White Lies"|
|1985||Webster||Frank||Episode: "Who's to Blame?"|
|1985||The Twilight Zone||Eric||Segment: "The Shadow Man"|
|1986||The Wonderful World of Disney: The Leftovers||Charlie||1 episode|
|1986||The Wonderful World of Disney: The B.R.A.T. Patrol||Raymond McGeorge||1 episode|
|1988||Lady in White||Geno Scarlatti|
|1988||Saturday the 14th Strikes Back||Eddie Baxter|
|1989||I Know My First Name Is Steven||Deke|
|1990||Gremlins 2: The New Batch||Alex the Yogurt Jerk|
|1990||Room for Romance||1 episode|
|1991||Never Forget||Bernie Mermelstein||TV movie|
|1991||Rugrats||Ramone "Rocko"||1 episode|
|1991||In the Heat of the Night||Jimmy Miller||1 episode|
- "THE SCREEN: 'EXPLORERS'". The New York Times. Retrieved June 5, 2012.
- Alexander, Chris (November 5, 2015). "Interview: Joe Dante Reflects on '80's Twilight Zone Episode, 'The Shadow Man'".